HOUSTON – Major League Soccer is the first of the Big 5 professional leagues to announce a return date. The MLS announced Wednesday they will resume their season beginning July 8 with everything based in Orlando.
In all, there will be 54 matches with teams divided into six groups. Regular season points can be earned and the winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Concacaf League tournament.
“We are excited to move forward but we still understand it’s not a perfect situation. We can now train as a team starting Thursday, make contact and see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dynamo Head Coach Tab Ramos.
MLS officials are confident that medical protocols are in place for the duration as all 26 teams will converge on Orlando. Included in the plan is advanced COVID-19 testing with players and team staffing. Accommodations will be on the Disney World complex with teams isolated at their specific resort. Games will be played mornings and evenings to avoid the tough summer heat conditions.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke with the media and says the plan is a good one.
"We're confident, having gone through this protocol, both with our own infectious disease doctor but also in sharing that with the MLSPA's infectious disease adviser, and also with the state authorities.”
Teams can begin arriving in Orlando as early as June 24. Once the tournament ends the MLS plan is for teams to continue playing in their home cities. Fans being allowed into stadiums has yet to be decided.