In our first edition of Home Away Home, presented by Western Union, Rapids Defender Lalas Abubakar shares his thoughts, in his own words, what life in Orlando has been like.
So far, the bubble has been good for me. I’m following the protocols, doing the right things, and we get to be back playing soccer. It is different, but I still get to do my favorite things, which makes it worth it. Waking up every day, going to training with my teammates, seeing their faces, working together, going to battle together and just having fun. Playing soccer is the most fun thing to do, so I am happy to be here.
To be honest, before we got here, and I know most of the guys would say this as well, we had a different perspective on how the bubble would look. Once we got here, we saw that, if we’re following the protocols, we feel very safe. It was a big relief.
Somebody like me, I wake up in the morning, I look at our team schedule, and then I just follow it. Most of the time I’m in my room, except when we have something like meals, then I go outside, wear my mask and have my credentials, go eat, come back to my room. Then, I just chill until maybe practice time or the next meal, and then I go out again.
And, to be honest, it is does get hard. We can’t go outside the bubble. We can’t do anything, really. I miss Colorado, and my apartment back home.
And it is all kind of weird. I have seen some of my old friends from Columbus, because sometimes you’re going for a meal, and you just end up seeing them in the lobby, having a little chat, maybe take a photo. We cannot really hang out with them - we cannot go to a different building. When you’re walking around, and you see them, and you can chat for like five minutes. It’s been awhile since I saw them, so it’s good, but it’s just all different.
The games definitely looked more like preseason, but they felt more intense. You don’t treat it like preseason. You have to get your mind ready and know you’re playing for something. Obviously, we miss our fans, fans not being at the stadium is a little weird, too. But you just have to focus and do your job.
We were so excited to play. It had been months since we played a game, so the excitement was definitely there.
After the first game… we were all pissed, to be honest.
Everybody was unhappy. Everyone can look himself in the mirror and say ‘Look, I could have played better,' or, 'I can play better.’ That was what I saw on the faces of everybody. Everybody was disappointed. We didn’t come out and play the way we play. We didn’t play 100%, like we know this team can do.
Every player is hungry. We haven't gotten the results we've wanted, but we are keeping our heads up.
Going forward, you're going to see everybody flying and just doing what we need to get three points.
Every day it is what we are preparing for and thinking about. We want the fans to be proud.
- Lalas Abubakar -