In a wide-ranging media availability on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City Sporting Director and Head Coach Peter Vermes weighed in on a bunch of topics. One of the biggest one to come up was testing players for COVID-19 (coronavirus) as well as anti-bodies in the event players had the virus or are in some other way potentially immune.
You can hear that here as Soren Petro of 810 WHB is asking the questions or if you prefer to read it Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the full transcript. Below are some sections from that interview.
“We’re working on two different tracks right now,” Vermes started. “All of our players and staff will be taking [tests] to find out if we actually have the virus. That’s one. And two is, we’ll also be taking the antibody test to see if we actually had it at some point and built up antibodies towards it.”
Vermes goes on to say players and staff will be tested on Friday or potentially Monday. Additionally, the team has “an individual person that is doing nothing but working on Sporting Kansas City’s testing protocol going forward.”
Peter didn’t stop there. He’s nothing if not a good interview on sharing a plethora of information and giving detailed answers.
“The league is doing the same,” Vermes continued speaking of testing. “And each and every team has been also requested to go out and start the search for partners within their locales. Because we don’t want to do a test and then to send it to New York for them to then send it back to us. We need a much quicker turnaround.”
“So we’ve been working on that as well. And we think we have a very good solution in both situations. The reason why we’re doing the first one is we’re doing it as a trial run for us, if you will. It’s not required right now by the league, but we’re going to do it as a trial run for us to start the process and try to be ahead of the game.”
Petro asked for clarification on if the tests are on site and Peter said “no” but went on to add the testing will be done, for both the virus and the antibody, “on site.” He also clarified the team procured these tests, not the league. I heard the answer as maybe they have one but not both tests and they’ll only do all the testing at once, for convenience to the players and staff.
Of course, if Sporting are using up tests, the attention may logically turn to the potential shortage of tests. There are numerous stories out there about testing shortages in various parts of the country. Tannenwald asked Vermes about that. Specifically about cities with MLS teams, unlike Kansas City, that are bigger hot spots and testing may be in higher demand.
“I would say I agree with you, that’s definitely a possibility,” said Vermes. “But I don’t work on the failures, I work on the achievements. I’m an optimist, I’m thinking that everybody’s going to get there and everybody's going to work to try to get there. And so I have to come up with a solution for our club.”
Vermes continued in reference to SKC leading in both practicing and testing, “what I’ve stated all along is that look, if you guys let us come out and do this and we show success, then that could help with some of the other cities to say to their local governments, ‘Look, Sporting Kansas City is pulling this off, they’re able to do it. Can you guys be a little more comfortable with this now that you can see someone having demonstrated performance?’”
Tannenwald got a lot more from Vermes on SKC being a pioneer in returning to individual workouts if that’s something you’d like to learn more about.
Earlier today, @SportingKC manager Peter Vermes explained how his team came up with what ended up being the MLS-wide protocol for individual player workouts on fields at team training facilities: pic.twitter.com/wxxp6l61gT— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) May 13, 2020
Whether practicing, testing and returning to play (which could happen by July 1st) is the right thing to do, it’s happening. We at The Blue Testament will continue to update you on all the latest as it happens.