WASHINGTON, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Major League Soccer (MLS) on Thursday announced that clubs may begin to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary small group training sessions.
This is the the first time that players in the U.S. premier soccer league have been allowed to train together since the league suspended play on March 12 due to the spread of the COVID-19.
Earlier, the MLS allowed individual workouts for all clubs, with the caveat that teams must not conflict with local public health guidelines or government policies.
In terms of the possible small group training sessions, clubs will be required to submit a detailed training plan that fits within the league's health and safety protocol before hosting any small group training sessions. Additionally, these sessions will be voluntary for all players.
Teams will be required to follow the same general health guidelines as they used for individual workouts, such as wearing a mask upon arrival and departure, undergoing a thermal screening before each session and limiting staff to essential members. Indoor facilities, such as weight, meeting and rehabilitation rooms, will still remain closed.
Although these small group sessions will allow players to pass the ball to one another and shoot towards a goalkeeper, players will be required to remain distanced.
Coaches will also be allowed to direct these sessions from the sidelines, but they must wear a face mask and maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet at all times.
The league is also limiting training equipment allowed on the field. Teams will be permitted to use balls, goals, markers such as cones, rebounders and GPS trackers.
The league emphasized hygiene for goalkeepers as well, instructing them to avoid spitting on their gloves and to fully disinfect their gloves after every session.
Earlier reports said the league is in negotiations with the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World of Orlando for a possible season restart.