MLS to begin individual player workouts on May 6

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 07: A detailed view of a MLS soccer ball at Audi Field on March 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Columbus Crew could be one step closer to returning to play after Major League Soccer announced Friday that as of May 6, players may begin using outdoor training fields for individual workouts.

These workouts must be in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts.

All workouts are voluntary and may not conflict with local health policies.

The league said by allowing players to use team-operated fields for individual workouts on a voluntary basis, teams can provide a controlled environment that ensures players and staff are following safety protocols and social distancing measures.

Players will not have access to locker rooms, team gyms and training rooms. Only players who are receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment can access training rooms and gyms.

Before any individual player workouts can continue, every team must submit to MLS a club-specific plan that outlines how the team will implement health and safety protocols, including:

  • Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.
  • Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.
  • Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.
  • Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.
  • Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.
  • Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.
  • Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.
  • Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.
  • An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.

The league-wide moratorium on small group and full team training remains in place through, and including, Friday, May 15.