UPDATE 2/10: After ratifying the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on February 8, Major League Soccer has announced that the season will now start on Saturday, April 17. MLS players will report on March 1 for a seven-day quarantine period, medical exams, and testing prior to the start of team training on March 8.
Major League Soccer has announced that the 2021 season will kick off with MLS is Back weekend. Each club will play 34 matches total.
Preseason will start approximately six weeks before opening weekend. Players will be required to quarantine and follow COVID-19 protocols when they get back in town.
There will be 27 clubs this season, 14 in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, there are still travel restrictions in place between the U.S. and Canada, so there will be more details on scheduling for the three Canadian clubs at a later date. Clubs also haven’t announced their schedules or opening weekend match-ups yet.
That being said, Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) have yet to reach an agreement after the league invoked a force majeure clause in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The start of the season hinges upon whether or not they can come to an agreement.
According to the schedule announcement, “On January 5 MLS presented the MLSPA with a proposal that committed to paying the players 100% of their salaries this year, in return for a two-year extension of the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement. The MLSPA provided a response to the league’s proposal January 23. Although no agreement has been reached, MLS is committed to meet as many times as necessary with the MLSPA in the coming days to finalize an agreement.”