Right now, pro soccer players are just like us. They’re at home, trying their best to stay healthy, waiting for life to return to normal after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
So, how can a top-level athlete actually stay fit when they can’t visit the training ground? What are they doing to fill the rest of their days? And, in the case of Chicago Fire FC goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm, what if all of this is happening while living in Chicago, some 4,300 miles from his hometown of Heidelberg, Germany?
It’s hard. But, Kronholm is making the best of it. He chatted with Hot Time in Old Town about what constitutes exercise these days, a new hobby he’s picked up that “is not Kenny,” and why he actually feels pretty lucky right now.
The following transcript of our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Patrick McCraney: So, Kenny, how are you spending your days?
Kenneth Kronholm: That’s a good question. For me it’s a little bit easier than the rest of my teammates, I guess, because my girlfriend is here from Germany. She got to Chicago two or three days before the lockdown, so that was lucky for us. We have the dog here as well. That’s a good thing, that we can take a walk two times or three times a day with the dog. We stay at home, of course, and we follow the rules. But, it’s not easy these days to stay motivated when you are a sportsman. You have to motivate yourself, and that’s a really hard competition.
PM: How are you staying in shape?
KK: That’s another good question. The gym in my building is closed, as well. So I try to work on my body on my own, without weights, just with my body. And, it’s boring, but you have to do this. You have to bring your body in shape, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy. But, I have my girlfriend, we work out a lot, and we do the home workout together.
PM: Have you picked up any new hobbies?
KK: I’m thirty—, over thirty, I don’t want to speak about my age! I’m twenty eight years old! (Kronholm is joking—he’s actually 34.) At the beginning of the corona case here in the U.S., in the first hours, I bought a PlayStation, and that’s not Kenny! (laughs) I haven’t played PlayStation in the last, I don’t know, five or six years. But in this case, I spend many hours playing FIFA 20 on my PlayStation. I’m not the best player, but I think that’s a good thing to spend some hours during the day.
PM: What’s your favorite team to be on FIFA?
KK: Of course, Chicago Fire! What kind of question is this?!? (laughs)
PM: Do you control the field players, or do you just control yourself the whole time?
KK: Honestly, I can control nothing! Because I’m a very bad player! Give me five years, and then I’ll be a good player.
PM: Are you talking to your teammates or coaches during this time?
KK: Yes, of course, of course. It’s important that we stay connected all the time. Even if you text your teammates, or you send them some funny pictures, or something like that, it’s important for the team to stay connected, of course.
PM: It’s hard to find positives in a time like this. But, are there any positives that you can see?
KK: Yeah, I think that we can think about ourselves a lot during this time, when we stay at home. And the most positive thing for me is Chicago is empty, so that means a lot of people are staying home as well, and that’s a good sign for the world. Everywhere in the world they follow the rules, I think that’s a good sign. We stay together, even though we can’t stay together, you know what I mean?
PM: Exactly. We’re all in this together, even though we can’t be together right now. That’s a great way of putting it.
KK: Yes, right.
PM: We only got to see two games this season, and even though the Fire only got the one point, I felt like the team looked good, and you looked particularly good. Now we have this break, and you lose that momentum. How do you recapture that when we get started again?
KK: We all have a great mentality. No matter how long it takes to come back on the field, we keep this mentality, for sure. Everything is new, the coach is giving us so many good things. He wants to help us all the time. We are a very good team, and I think we are friends, not just teammates. That’s important to be successful, and all of us want to be successful. And I think we have a great opportunity this season to be successful.
PM: You mentioned your dog earlier. What kind of dog is he?
KK: He’s a Rhodesian ridgeback, a South African dog, he’s five meters tall! (Kronholm is obviously joking again, but this breed really is massive). His name is Carlo. We are living in a 700 square feet apartment, my girlfriend, the big dog, and me, and it’s not easy! It’s not easy! He has so much power, and wants to run all day. And that’s very hard for me to control his engine!
PM: Thanks for talking to me. Stay healthy, and we’ll talk to you soon.
KK: Absolutely, absolutely. So, we cross our fingers together, and hope that the next interview is about the last win against every team in this league!
Stay tuned later this week for Hot Time’s interview with Fire forward CJ Sapong!