Sporting KC Show Podcast: Joey Harty on how the training staff keeps Sporting in shape during quarantine

The Sporting Kansas City Show, dropping throughout the season on Sports Radio 810 WHB, is available on several podcast hubs including Spotify and iTunes as well as SportingKC.com/SportingKCShow. With Nate Bukaty, Jacob Peterson, Carter Augustine and Aly Trost hosting the weekly program, Sporting fans have a place to go to catch up on club storylines, player achievements, guest interviews and more.


As citizens across the United States continue to practice social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become an everyday practice for millions.

Among those plying their trades in responsible quarantine are Sporting Kansas City Show hosts Nate Bukaty, Carter Augustine and Aly Trost, who have added YouTube to the list of places supporters can find the weekly Sporting podcast.

The newest episode of the Sporting Kansas City Show, available for full video viewing above, kicked off with Bukaty, Augustine and Trost offering a sneak preview of content that fans can expect in the coming days. In addition to enjoying player-provided commentary of recent Sporting games—Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza and Johnny Russell recently broke down the home-opening win over Houston from March 7—soccer addicts have a series of classic Sporting matches to look forward to on both SportingKC.com and FOX Sports Kansas City.

Tuesday's guest on the show was a Sporting technical staff member whose job has been thrust into the spotlight due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Joey Harty, Director of Sports Performance and Science, faces a particular challenge as the club's head fitness coach. With MLS clubs prohibited from training together and players prompted to stay home, Harty and his staff have been tasked with delivering exercise equipment to players' residences and crafting specialized home workouts for every member on the squad. The MLS training moratorium began Friday, March 13, and the league has thus far extended it on a week-by-week basis.

"We're almost three weeks in and we're still on a training moratorium, and I think we're all expecting this to last a lot longer than anyone even knows," Harty said. "At this point, it's become a lot more intentional and individualized with what we're trying to do with each player. All these sports teams are (sharing) what their coaches and medical staffs are doing to help their players retain all of their physical qualities to not lose the base of fitness they've all developed during preseason."

So what's the ideal recipe for success as athletes train from home, often in the company of wives, children and pets with limited space and equipment?

"I don't think anyone has the answers," Harty continued, indicating that there was no magic formula or perfect regimen to give players.

Harty said that Sporting has leveraged its partnership with Children's Mercy to ship a variety of workout equipment from Pinnacle National Development Center, the club's training home, to players' residences across the city. Harty has started conducting exercise classes through the Zoom video platform with several groups of players at a time, but a major challenge remains in that each athlete has his own individual fitness needs. That's not to mention the fact that Harty and his staff are adjusting themselves to training their players in a virtual realm.

"From a coaching standpoint, it’s different," he said. "I had my living room set up, which was tough because my wife is working from home and she was on the phone in the other room. I’m sitting here with a yoga matt on the floor with a chair and a dumbbell and my dog is barking outside.

"But my situation is the same as some of the guys. Matt Besler’s kids are running around, Tim Melia’s pretty much on full-time daddy daycare right now. It’s really about the relationship and how much you can communicate effectively with these guys while they’re home."

Series: 
Topics: