Atlanta United President Darren Eales and family. Crowds took to downtown streets Monday, Dec. 10 ,2018 in celebration of winning its first championship and just the second major championship for the city of Atlanta. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC

Atlanta United taking advantage of more family time

No MLS games, combined with orders to shelter, means Atlanta United’s players, used to days filled with training, travel and games, are spending more time with their families. 

While each described it as a valuable positive amid the COVID-19 chaos, the added time and interactions have required some adjustments. 

Some players are doing some teaching. 

Some are doing some playing. 

Some are doing so from long distances. 

Some are learning that their routines need some changing. Happy wife, happy life. 

“That part is a bit of a blessing,” goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “Being around the kids, being around my wife, it’s nice to have this extra time together. At the same time, she is probably just as eager for me to get back to work as I am. This is her normal. She’s home with the kids all day every day. For me, it’s not. It’s taken a bit of adjustment. For my kids, they love it.” 

Guzan said each day his son will ask if he’s going to work . 

When Guzan answers no, his son’s smile could power Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

“That’s been cool to see,” he said. “At the same time, I think sure he’s eager to get back to school and see his friends.” 

It has been more difficult for those whose family are an ocean away. Mo Adams said he spends hours a day on Facetime talking with his family members in Nottingham, England. 

Routines are of importance. 

Guzan and his family talks a walk every day, no matter the weather. He reasoned that they lived for years in England where it rained every day. He can walk in the rain in Atlanta.

Jeff Larentowicz said that before the quarantine started, he and his wife were trying to figure out how they were going to get through spring break. They settled into routines. Larentowicz said it now feels a bit like the offseason, just without the travel.  School in the morning, free time in the afternoon.

Club President Darren Eales said his wife handles teaching his twin boys in the morning. He handles physical education in the afternoon. Last week was cycling and talks about the Tour de France. 

Vice President Carlos Bocanegra travels possibly more than any Atlanta United employee because of games, scouting and responsibilities with U.S. Soccer. This may be the longest he has been at home since he joined the club as technical director. He said his family is very understanding of his job and what it entails. 

So, Bocanegra is taking advantage of being home and getting a lot of time with his kids. He posted a video last week of his kids using him as equipment in an American Ninja-style obstacle course. They play soccer in the yard.

“It’s been awesome hanging with my kids,” he said. 

A funny downside is Bocanegra has learned that he doesn’t put his dishes away quite fast enough. But, again, he’s not home as often as the rest of his family. 

“They are giving me the benefit of the doubt on that dish left out in the sink,” he said. 

Academy Director Tony Annan also travels quite a bit. He said his typical work day is out by 9 a.m. and not back until bedtime for his kids. 

Now, he joked he’s become quite adept at coloring and making collages with his daughter. Though, he said being around the house this much may result in his wife needing a psychologist when all of this is done. 

“It’s been fun to have time with them,” he said.

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