MLS cleared the opening of training facilities beginning yesterday, but only four teams actually did so–and illustrated the difficulties in launching play in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inter Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Sporting Kansas were the only MLS teams to welcome players back to camp. MLS had distributed guidelines on how players would be treated when camps re-opened: Personal protective equipment was required when players went right from the parking lot (where they parked three cars apart) to the field (and back), staff donned personal protective equipment throughout training, and players and staff maintained a minimum distance of 10 feet from each other at all times. In addition, players filled out a MLS health and safety questionnaire to screen for COVID-19 symptoms. Only four players worked out at a time, with the playing field divided into quarters so there was no physical interaction between players, staff or coaches.
The result was a customized one-hour workout, as outlined by Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough:
“We split the group into two segments and split the field into four,” said McDonough who has been in constant contact with Beckham via Zoom.
“There were two entry points to the fields and a trainer in PPE would come to the car, take their temperature, sanitize their hands and then the players would then put on a face mask and go to their assigned quadrant in the facility.
“We funnelled them all through, they did their work and the coaches were present while respecting social distancing barriers.
“No player was allowed in our building.”
The issue: many states are still operating under stay-at-home orders, and pro soccer is not an activity cleared by state officials. Until we see a lifting of these orders, you won’t see a widespread resumption of MLS training–never mind a resumption of the 2020 MLS season.
Photo courtesy Inter Miami CF.
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