MLS says players can train in small groups

5/28/2020 1:35:39 PM EST

Major League Soccer said Thursday that players can return to outdoor team training fields in small groups, provided they follow mandatory health and safety measures.

The training sessions will be voluntary.

MLS shut down its operations on March 12, just two games into the 2020 season, because of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 6, the league said players could work out individually at outdoor team training facilities, as long as they followed policies from local health and government officials. Most teams have since reopened their facilities.

The MLS moratorium on full team training will remain in place through at least Monday.

Before the small-group training sessions can begin, each team must file with MLS a plan that has been given the OK by club doctors and an infectious disease expert in the market.

The league also has sent to clubs renderings of how they can use their fields. They can divide the field into halves and assign a group of players to specific spots. Or, they can designate as many as six zones per half field that are spaced at least 10 feet apart. Only one player can occupy a zone at one time.

Coaches and staff must wear face coverings, stay at least 10 feet apart from each other and can instruct players only from the sidelines.

MLS is eyeing a return to competitive play, potentially in late June, in tournament-style competition in Orlando, Fla.

--Field Level Media

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