Major League Soccer players can now commence in outdoor training in small groups while officials work towards resuming the suspended season. The new approval granted on Thursday is the second step towards resuming team training after voluntary, individual workouts were approved on May 6. A league-wide moratorium on full team training remains in place through June 1.
Players can take part in outdoor training only in groups of six of less, with the league determining that workouts “must not conflict with local public health official or government policies.” In order to conduct small-group training, all clubs must submit to the league a specific plan that has been reviewed and approved by team medical staff and a local infectious disease expert.
All team plans are to follow league-wide standards for health and safety. MLS guidelines include keeping players zoned at least 10 feet apart, limiting those in team facilities to players and medical staff and keeping interactions between the players in a single group which cannot be rearranged during a training session. Coaches are permitted to direct players on the field’s perimeter while keeping a distance of at least 10 feet but may not enter the field and are required to wear a mask. In addition, certain equipment is approved for use while mannequins, weights, ball machines, poles and bands are prohibited.
Further precautions are to be taken off the field, including staggered staff arrivals and departures, use of protective equipment, hand washing before and after workout sessions, plus a temperature and health questionnaire screening before entering facility.
The MLS is reportedly in talks of resuming competition behind closed doors using Orlando as a hub city. The season was suspended March 12, two weeks after launching games.