Clubs can re­open fa­cil­i­ties

But play­ers must re­main out­side and en­gage only in in­di­vid­ual work­outs

Orlando Sentinel - - Sports Weekend - By Ju­lia Poe jpoe@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

Ma­jor League Soc­cer granted per­mis­sion to all clubs to be­gin us­ing team fa­cil­i­ties for in­di­vid­ual work­outs start­ing Wed­nes­day, the league’s first step to­ward a grad­ual re­turn to play amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The work­outs can­not con­flict with any lo­cal or state gov­ern­ment health poli­cies.

Play­ers will be al­lowed to prac­tice on team fields as long as they are out­doors and fol­low­ing health guide­lines. The league also re­leased a de­tailed pro­to­col that must be fol­lowed through­out work­outs.

“By al­low­ing play­ers, on a vol­un­tary ba­sis, to uti­lize team-op­er­ated fields for in­di­vid­ual work­outs, MLS clubs will be able to pro­vide a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment that en­sures ad­her­ence to safety pro­to­cols and so­cial-dis­tanc­ing mea­sures for play­ers and staff,” the league said in a state­ment.

Ath­letes will not be able to ac­cess in­door fa­cil­i­ties such as locker rooms and weight rooms.

Clubs will be re­quired to di­vide their fields into four quad­rants, with only one player al­lowed in each quad­rant at any given time. Play­ers will not be al­lowed to share balls dur­ing th­ese train­ing ses­sions, which will elim­i­nate any pass­ing or shoot­ing drills.

Be­fore a team can be­gin its in­di­vid­ual train­ing ses­sions, a club must sub­mit a plan to the league.

That plan must in­clude pro­to­col for is­sues such as how to re­strict fa­cil­ity ac­cess to es­sen­tial staff and how to san­i­tize equip­ment and spa­ces, in­clud­ing balls, cones and goals.

Play­ers will have to per­form a Stan­dard Screen­ing As­sess­ment be­fore uti­liz­ing the fa­cil­ity, which will in­clude a check of their tem­per­a­ture to en­sure pos­si­bly in­fected play­ers aren’t us­ing the fields. Teams will also need to cre­ate a sched­ule that al­lows for stag­gered ar­rival to the team fa­cil­i­ties to avoid any con­tact be­tween play­ers or coaches.

Staff and play­ers will be ex­pected to use pro­tec­tive equip­ment, and hand-wash­ing and dis­in­fec­tant sta­tions must be in­stalled.

Clubs also must de­velop a COVID-19 emer­gency ac­tion plan and as­sign a staff mem­ber to over­see im­ple­men­ta­tion of MLS safety re­quire­ments.

The MLS small group and full team train­ing mora­to­rium will con­tinue through at least May 15.

JU­LIA POE/PRO SOC­CER USA

Or­lando City for­ward Chris Mueller laughs with team­mate João Moutinho ahead of a pre­sea­son train­ing ses­sion. MLS granted per­mis­sion to clubs to be­gin us­ing team fa­cil­i­ties for in­di­vid­ual work­outs start­ing Wed­nes­day.

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