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COVID-19 UPDATES: Clubs may begin full team training

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This will be updated as the league releases news about training, games, and the rest of the season.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Update: 6/4:

The day after the League and the MLS Players’ Association came to an agreement on a new CBA and the mini-tournament in Orlando, MLS announced that the moratorium on full-team training had been lifted. According to the press release, “Individual club plans must be reviewed and approved by the club’s medical staff and local infectious disease expert prior to submission to MLS for review. Full team training will be mandatory for all players as teams take the next step toward a return to match play.”

Update 5/28:

MLS announced today that clubs may resume voluntary small group training on outdoor team training fields. Clubs are expected to continue to follow any local policies as well as health and safety protocols.

Read more here.

The moratorium on full-team training remains in place through Monday, June 1st.

Update 5/14:

Major League Soccer has extended the small group and team training moratorium through Monday, June 1st.

Update 5/1:

Starting on Wednesday, May 6th, players may use outdoor team training fields for individual workouts. This is completely voluntary and on a player-by-player basis. It is still prohibited for players to access facilities such as locker rooms, team gyms, and team training rooms, except by players by players receiving “post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the club’s Chief Medical Officer.”

Before the workouts may begin, MLS is requiring every club to submit a plan that outlines how they will implement the following health and safety protocols:

  • Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.
  • Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.
  • Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.
  • Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.
  • Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.
  • Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.
  • Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.
  • Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.
  • An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.

The small group and team training moratorium is still in place until at least May 15th.

Update 4/23:

MLS extends team training moratorium through Friday, May 15th.

“MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.”

Update 4/17:

Earlier this week, MLS updated us that it was unlikely that play would resume in May and they were looking at different ways to finish out the season, depending on how long the break goes on. Today, they announced that the moratorium on games is extended to at least June 8th.

The tweet also mentions working with the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) in regards to player salaries. ESPN recently reported that a discussion had already occurred about “having players accept significant salary cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple sources.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber expects clubs to make more decisions about the salaries of non-playing staff, while MLS reduced the salaries of its top three executives by 25% (including Garber).

Update 4/14:

Major League Soccer shared a press release today that said it was looking “extremely unlikely” that play will resume in mid-May. They had been hoping to still play a full season and currently have enough room on the calendar to do so, but the longer this goes on, the less likely that will happen.

Update 4/2:

Major League Soccer has extended the training moratorium through Friday, April 24th.

Per the press release, “MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.

While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.”

Update 3/25:

Major League Soccer has extended the training moratorium through Friday, April 3rd.

Per the press release, “MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.

While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.”

Update 3/19:

The CDC now recommends cancelling events of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks, and Major League Soccer has responded that they will extend the postponement of matches for the 2020 season.

Eight weeks puts us at May 10 and the press release said that “MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season. The league is also identifying other available dates.”

Original article 3/12:

With leagues around the world suspending their seasons in response to COVID-19, it was only a matter of time until Major League Soccer was added to the list. This morning, it was announced that MLS would suspend play for 30 days, effective immediately.

In the press release, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said: “Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees. We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

As far as the Colorado Rapids go, this means at least three games will be postponed or possibly cancelled (?):

As of now, no games have been cancelled. We’ll continue to update this article as more information is released.