Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Entire Major League Soccer season, including Orlando City, will resume at Disney World in July

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 11:59 PM

  • Photo via Major League Soccer Facebook

Major Leauge Soccer will return July 8 to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, in a World Cup-like tournament, the MLS announced on Wednesday.

The 26 MLS clubs will compete for regular-season points and a Concacaf Champions League berth during 54 scheduled matches ending in August.

"We are pleased to team up with Disney to relaunch the 2020 MLS season and get back to playing soccer," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement Wednesday. 

A tournament draw will take place Thursday, June 11, at 3:30 p.m., to be streamed live through and on MLS's Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts.

Along with getting back on the field during a pandemic, Garber recognized in the statement that the country is focused on the climate of racial injustice propelled by the deaths of Black men such as George Floyd.

"Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long," Garber said in the statement.

The MLS has been very vocal about their support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, issuing a statement of support for players to peacefully protest by kneeling during national anthem and painting "I Can't Breathe" on the D.C. United field.
click to enlarge Audi Field soccer stadium painted by D.C. United players - PHOTO VIA MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER FACEBOOK
  • Photo via Major League Soccer Facebook
  • Audi Field soccer stadium painted by D.C. United players
After suspending the season in early March due to the pandemic, the MLS is restarting the 2020 season without a live audience and with lots of new health and safety protocols in place, including even more COVID-19 testing.

Before arriving in Orlando via a charter plane, all essential members of each team will have to take two tests for COVID-19 within 24 hours.  Essential team members will also undergo temperature checks, an antibody test and a screening questionnaire. If anyone essential team member tests positive for a present infection of COVID-19, that one member who tests positive must quarantine and cannot travel.

Immediately upon arrival in Orlando, all essential team members will be tested for COVID-19 again, and will be tested every other day for two weeks after they arrive. Then, testing will be dropped to regularly before matches.

If any essential team member tests positive throughout the regular testing protocol in Orlando, they will be isolated in a designated area of the hotel.

The MLS even changed regular game-day rituals prior to announcing the tournament beginning in July.

Players, coaches and officials must be wary of where they spit or clear their nose. Anyone on the benches must practice social distancing and wear a mask while the players are not allowed to exchange jerseys or kiss the ball. During press conferences, everyone must wear face masks. 

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