Whether it’s bouncing back from an injury or bad run of results, the word ’adversity’ is often bandied about in sport. Dealing with a global pandemic, though? That’s a whole new ball game.

Former Fulham and US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra, who now operates as Technical Director at MLS side Atlanta United, dealt with relegation as a player but is now trying to navigate the suspension of the league due to coronavirus.

Speaking to UCFB students as part of the recent Atlanta Virtual Summit, he explained how situations such as these demand clear and effective leadership.

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Bocanegra, who represented his county at two world cups, said: “At a time like this with COVID-19 around the world, everybody is facing the same challenges and the same issues and there’s not a whole lot of answers. So these are the challenging times where as leaders you have to make sure that you’re accessible and make sure that people can hear from you as often as possible.”

Highlighting the difficulties of the current situation within his club, Bocanegra added: “We have found it very difficult to communicate to our staff and our players because we haven’t been getting a whole lot of information from the league (MLS), and we’re kind of waiting on the government. Nobody really knows how to navigate this time, and it seems to change week in, week out.”

As well as time in London, Bocanegra also spent time at Glasgow Rangers during one of the most difficult times in the club’s history, as it battled administration and was subsequently relegated to the bottom tier of Scottish football. Bocanegra said the only way to take on the challenge was face on.

Remembering his time in the UK fondly, he added: “Like the Rangers situation and this one [COVID-19], you’ve got to take it as it comes. This is one of things that I really enjoyed about my time in England and Scotland – people just get on with things. You control what you can control, you do the best you can and you get on with it because it’s not always going to go your way.”