MLS allowing teams to start voluntary small group training

MLS announced Thursday it is allowing teams to ramp up training to outdoor, voluntary small group training sessions. The moratorium on full team training remains in place through Monday at this time.

All sessions must abide by local health and government policies in addition to the club-specific plans Atlanta United and other teams sent to MLS for approval prior to beginning voluntary individual sessions.

The MLS said small group sessions must be held outside with indoor facilities remaining closed to everyone except rehabbing players or those requiring medical tratment.

Each full field must be divided in half and a group of six is assigned to each section. Social distancing guidelines require those players in small groups to be spaced at least 10 feet apart from each other and from coaches. Coaches may instruct from outside the field, always maintaining that 10-foot distance, and must wear a face mask at all times.

Atlanta United defender Anton Walkes #4 dribbles the ball during voluntary individual workouts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Ga., on Wednesday May 13, 2020. Major League Soccer announced that starting on Wednesday,

Interaction between different groups is prohibited during a session, but different combinations may be formed from session to session. Passing and shooting are allowed within the small group sessions.

Equipment to be used during training session including balls; small and regular goals; rubber dots; small discs and cones; rebounders; rings; GPS Pods and personal equipment that is not shared between players. Mannequins, poles, bands, weights and ball machines may not be used.

Teams must also maintain the health and safety protocols put into place for the voluntary individual workout sessions.

Plans at that time included restricting access to essential staff only, personal protective equipment (PPE) use from the parking lot to the field, PPE use and 10 feet of social distancing by staff during training, sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, standard screenings and temperature checks upon arrival and staggered player/staff arrivals and departures.