Fire coach Wicky making use of extra time

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Fire coach Raphael Wicky, left, talks with assistant coach Frank Klopas.

    Chicago Fire coach Raphael Wicky, left, talks with assistant coach Frank Klopas. Courtesy of Chicago Fire FC

 
 
Updated 4/27/2020 6:39 PM

Chicago Fire coach Raphael Wicky enjoys watching film, but he has his limits.

"You cannot watch film for six weeks every single day," the first-year Fire coach said. "It is not possible."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Still, film is a "big part" of how he's spending his working hours while the MLS season is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm watching our preseason games," he said. "I'm watching our first two games, then I'm watching a lot of other teams, which me and my staff talk about and think, OK, look at this team, they have some interesting stuff here tactically or formation-wise."

It's all about ideas that Wicky and his staff can use when the Fire can get on a training field again.

"It's interesting to see teams from different leagues," Wicky said. "Different leagues mean different cultures, different cultures of football. So we're watching a little of that and trying to take things out of a lot of them and then see OK, that could be interesting for us."

There's also the get-to-know-you element to the Fire's efforts these days. Hired in late December, Wicky is trying to use the extra time to strengthen his relationships with his staff and players as people as well as getting to know them as players.

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"We're just trying to take advantage of that time and those days, which are long and there's no training as a team," he said. " ... For us as a new staff, yeah, it gives us a little bit of time to still get to know each other better. Work on certain projects we didn't really have time to work on before because, like I said, we were completely new to each other."

The team also is working to make sure the players are adjusting well to both this forced time off and, in some cases, a new country.

"We have a lot of new players here, who some of them just arrived in that week when the lockdown was, when we had to stop training," Wicky said. "So some of them don't have their families. Some of them were still in hotels. And some of them during those (first) two weeks were maybe moving into an apartment but with no furniture.

"And these things are not easy to handle them and you're coming from a different country, may not speak the language and you're 20 years old or 24 and your family is not here and you're going into an apartment."

The players are working to stay fit in their homes, but Wicky said he expects to "have another preseason" when the league resumes training.

When that will happen is anybody's guess. On Thursday, MLS extended its moratorium on training again, this time through May 15.

"We're waiting, we're listening, we're hoping, obviously, like everyone who is in this industry," Wicky said, "that we can go back to work."

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