As COVID-19 cases in the United States surge, the country is trying to reopen while taking precautions necessary to deter the deadly virus. This includes sporting events, specifically Major League Soccer in the US. MLS fans saw the suspension of the season on March 12 due to the risk Coronavirus posed to the teams, referees and many other staff. However, after a few months of waiting, the MLS is attempting to return back to normal.
MLS clubs have been given clearance to begin individual player workouts on May 6th. These workouts are all socially distanced in order to not endanger the lives of players and coaches. The second phase began on June 1st and involved allowing clubs to hold small group training, which involves groups of no more than 6 players at a time. All players are also socially distanced. The third phase is full team training. This will be a little different given the fact that COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for all teams and players.
Teams and players have chosen to back out of the MLS restart due to fears of COVID-19. FC Dallas and Nashville SC as well as Forwards Lucas Cavallini and Fredy Montero and Georges Mukumbilwa and Tosaint Ricketts will not be taking part in the return tournament in Orlando, Florida. FC Dallas had no choice but to withdraw from the tournament after finding out that 10 players on their team have tested positive for the coronavirus. One of the league’s best players and stars, Carlos Vela, has also chosen to back out of representing Los Angeles FC in the restart due to his wife’s ‘risky pregnancy’.
The MLS has been dealt a huge blow due to all of these players backing out of the Orlando tournament restart. It does not seem like the situation will be getting any better due to the fact that coronavirus cases are hitting new heights in various states. However, the organizers of the tournament continue to work hard to tweak the format of the competition to ensure a safe and smooth restart to the season.