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MLS extends training moratorium three weeks due to coronavirus pandemic

The league stops practices yet again

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer again extended the league’s training moratorium that was due to expire on April 3, this time for and additional three weeks, through Friday, April 24, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The league initially stopped training through the weekend of March 15, and has since extended weekly three times, ending on March 20, March 27 and then through April 3rd. This extension is by far the longest, underscoring the threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, April 24. MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.

While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.

MLS will remain in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on this continually evolving situation and provide further updates as they become available.

Teams around MLS, including Columbus Crew SC, have issued workout plans to the players to assist with individually during the outbreak. Some of these workouts were adapted for fans and demonstrated by the team’s Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Kelly Roderick.

The coaching staff continues to be busy connecting with players over videoconferencing, ensuring proper nutrition for players used to eating structured meals offered by the team and scouting remotely during the league’s pause.

Columbus recently celebrated the 2008 MLS Cup victory with a replay of the Final on April 1 on the team’s website. The team also had retrospective highlights of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Alejandro Moreno’s perspective on his Cup goal and remembrances of the mastermind behind the 2008 team, Sigi Schmid.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to grow with more than a million cases worldwide and over 50,000 deaths attributable to the disease. There are nearly 3,000 cases in Ohio, causing 81 deaths. It has halted daily life around the world, including the 2020 European Championships and the Summer Olympics in Japan.

MLS continues to be on hiatus that is, for now, scheduled to end on May 10 in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canada guidance. As governments attempt to “flatten the curve” by limiting activity to only the essentials, there’s a significant chance that the moratoriums on training and scheduled games is extended.