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RSL coach Juarez says Jeizon Ramirez absence down to fitness

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The Venezuelan youngster isn’t fit, says the coach.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been wondering where Jeizon Ramirez, one of RSL’s notable signings from the offseason (which seems like it was years ago, not months, but that’s neither here nor there), wonder no longer.

He’s in the bubble, but in his post-match press conference following the club’s draw with Minnesota United, RSL coach Freddy Juarez said he’s lacking fitness after the return to training following the COVID-19-enforced break taken by MLS teams.

“Jeizon, he came, this whole COVID thing happened, and he lost a little bit of fitness and isn’t quite as fit as we’d like him to be,” Juarez said. “He’s a young player, and we can’t rush him. We need to make sure when we bring him in, he’s 100 percent up to speed.”

Despite his fitness deficit, Juarez said Ramirez has been improving in training.

“Last week, he had one of his best weeks of training since he’s been here,” Juarez said. “We have to make sure that everyone on our team knows that we’re going to grow something into what we want it to be.”

Full quotes from the relevant portion of the press conference follow.

Jeizon, he’s a young player that came play into us, and he’s not quite as fit as we’d like him to be. He knows that; we’ve had conversations. He’s a very talented player, and he’s going to be a big part of our team as long as he keeps developing.

The way our team plays, we can’t afford to not have everyone working all phases of the game. We know he’s spectacular with the ball when he has it, and he’s getting used to the physicality of the league, the players, the training.

He’s had a great attitude. When I sat down and talked with him, he knows we expect a lot more. Last week, he had one of his best weeks of training since he’s been here, so we have to make sure that everyone on our team knows that we’re going to grow something into what we want it to be.

Everyone on the team knows nothing’s handed to anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are. We all buy into it. We need everyone to make sure when they step on, they give everything he can give.

He’s here. He goes to the gym, does extra training, all that. He’s developing. He’s going to be good; you guys are going to be happy with him. When you have a young player, you have to guide them and develop them. I know people want to quickly see young players and quickly see signings, but for me, I want to make sure we develop them in the right way. We want real, quality professionals who can make a big impact.