Major League Soccer players can begin using team training fields outdoors for individual workouts starting Wednesday, provided those workouts comply with their local health and safety protocols.
The Friday announcement was the first step toward training in small groups and then to team practices and playing games again. The league, in March, suspended playing games until mid-May and later extended it until June 8.
Minnesota United management is working on what an individual-training plan will look like and what will be approved by local health and government officials as well as MLS officials, a team spokesman said.
A leaguewide moratorium on small group and full training remains through May 15 while MLS executives contemplate options. Included: Push a shortened season as deep into fall as possible or play a World Cup-style tournament at a select number of venues, both without fans.
All individual workouts are voluntary and may not conflict with public health or government policies. Participating players are prohibited from access to such club facilities as locker rooms, team gyms and team training rooms. Gyms and training rooms still are open to players who receive rehabilitation treatment directed by the team’s medical staff.
Teams’ outdoor fields can be divided into a maximum of four quadrants and one player per quadrant may participate in each training session. No equipment can be shared, and no passing or shooting between players is allowed.
The decision to allow individual workouts outdoors on team fields allows MLS clubs to provide what the league called “a controlled environment that ensures adherence to safety protocols.”
Every team must submit to the league a plan that outlines protocols that will allow facility access only to essential staff, sanitize and disinfect training equipment and spaces and provide disinfectant stations.
There are also specifications for players’ use of personal protective equipment to be used from the parking lot to the field and back again. Staff must use “appropriate personal protective equipment” throughout training while maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players.