Igor Shishcov couldn’t wait to bring soccer back to New Orleans. After the Jesters took the 2019 season off, the team’s central midfielder was excited to compete in the city again and see the Pan-American Stadium stands filled with fans.
“After an eternity off, everyone was super excited,” he said. “The whole city of New Orleans missed some high-level soccer.”
But Shishcov, his teammates and the club’s fans now face another cancelled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jesters and the other 89 teams in the National Premier Soccer League will now stay home instead of playing in their summer season.
“In the past few days and weeks, our lives have changed in ways that are difficult to comprehend. At times it does not seem real,” the team wrote in a press release.
The news came as a shock to Shishcov. The Moldova native was prepared to play in his third season with the Jesters but now his plans have dramatically changed.
“No one in the whole world could predict or prepare for such a disaster,” he said. “It’s like we are in one of those Hollywood movies about epidemia but unfortunately it’s not. This is our real life and we have to adjust.”
Shishcov is coping with losing a second consecutive season after dedicating time and effort to the sport he loves. However, he considers himself lucky.
“Soccer is all my life. I can’t imagine life without it,” he said. “I’m heartbroken but at the same time people are dying right now all over the world because of this virus, so I don’t have any moral right to complain. I’m healthy. My family is safe. It’s all I need.”
The Jesters player said he will stay in his rental home in New Orleans during the pandemic, practicing drills and working out as much as possible.
“Honestly you don’t need a lot of equipment or space to keep yourself in shape you just have to be a little bit creative and not lazy of cours,” he said. “It’s easy to get lazy when you are stuck at home for so long.”
In the meantime, Shishcov remains positive about the world’s fight against the virus and the future of the sport he loves.
“I won’t complain. I will train as much as I can at home and will continue to believe in a brighter future,” he said. “One thing I know for sure when all this is gone, we all will be back better and stronger.”