“I try to go about my day as if we were in training – keep that consistency. Breakfast is at the same time, everything is scheduled.”
Tacoma Defiance Winger Shandon Hopeau is doing his best to keep life in quarantine as similar to life out of it as possible. Routines and schedules are part of his education as a professional. His fifth season against other pros is a touch different than any other, but lessons from earlier seasons are helping the 21-year-old through this time of uncertainty.
“It all comes down to keeping self-discipline. That’s hard to come by, but it’s key to being a pro.”
Hopeau wants to come out the Stay Home order as a better soccer player. As one of the Defiance team captains, he sees his ability to press as vital to the squad’s success.
“With the style of play we have in Tacoma, with the high press trying to win the ball closer to goal and then maintain possession in the opponent’s half when we win it. This fitness will help me press for a full 90 and be a threat for the full game.”
That means more cardio than before, more conditioning exercises, and ambition.
“Everything is different. In this corona-environment, if I’m not working out, I’m doing conditioning. Every day I’m busy making sure that I’m ready for when the season starts again.”
Life is not all soccer for Hopeau. He’s the primary DJ for the team, playing mostly rap for beats to pump up the group. He hits the decks with a heavy mix of Drake and Flipp Dinero in his apartment with Chino Pérez and Nick Hinds. He’s also been cooking with Chino.
Always competitive, Shandon will play Fortnite and FIFA with other Defiance players. He chats with his fellow players, but the competition is important. Shandon always wants to win.
Hinds, Perez, and Hopeau are also avid Settlers of Catan players. They’re playing “at least twice a day.” Another layer of competition during this time without soccer matches.
Soccer is first and foremost for the Hawaiian born winger. It is why he moved out to Puget Sound away from his family on the Islands, away from surfing, spearfishing, and diving.
During quarantine, Hopeau is re-reading the preseason book assignments Coach Little gave him and trying to take even more away from that homework. He has also enjoyed the tactical assignments to study the world’s best.
“We’re becoming better students of the game.”
In a recent review of El Clásico, Hopeau’s focus was on Vinícius Júnior, the Brazilian left winger for Real Madrid. Shandon saw that Vinícius is “dynamic, calm, composed on the ball” and wants to study that area of the game for himself.
His routine focuses on fitness, sandwiched around the video games, Catan, cooking, and music. He knows that by Staying Home and Staying Healthy, Defiance will return to the pitch when the time is right. When that moment comes, he will be pressing and pushing the team to success for 90+ minutes.
“If we all stick together, the sooner we can be back on the field and perform for the fans, the city, and the club. We’re excited, and we’re following the restrictions and rules so we can get back out on the field as soon as possible.”
STAY HOME PICKS
TV Show: Prison Break
Music: Drake and Flipp Dinero
Videogames: FIFA and Fortnite
Activity: Settlers of Catan
Read about what the players, coaches, and staff at Cheney Stadium are doing while they Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
ABOUT TACOMA DEFIANCE
Tacoma Defiance is the USL Championship affiliate of reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC. You can follow The Future of Champions on Twitter (@TACDefiance), Facebook, and Instagram (@tacdefiance). We are #DefiantlyTacoma.
TACOMA TEAM STORE
More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.