Major League Soccer is looking at the possibility of resuming the season this summer with all teams playing in Orlando, Florida.
Details of the plan are still under consideration, but the league’s 26 teams and limited staff would likely be sheltered in a resort with games played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, a person with knowledge of the plan told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday because the plan has not been formally announced. The proposal was first reported by the Washington Post.
Teams could head to Florida as early as June 1 for training camps. The league suspended play on March 12 after teams had played just two games.
“I think the league is still at a stage, from what I understand, where this particular idea is something that they have in mind and are trying to get feedback from teams about as to what it could look like and how it could work,” Nashville coach Gary Smith said. “Personally, again, we’re in uncharted territory here. I certainly, along with probably most other people, have never seen anything like it before. So therefore, you have to be a little bit more open-minded about what a season could look like.”
Other proposals have included teams playing a tournament-style competition in four different cities. There’s also the possibility teams could return to their home stadiums for games following the resumption of the season in Orlando.
It was not immediately clear whether any of the plans had been presented to the players’ union.
MLS took the first step toward resuming the season last week when teams were allowed to start voluntary individual workouts at team facilities under strict guidelines. The next step would be small group workouts.
But a number of teams, including the Seattle Sounders and the San Jose Earthquakes, have not been able to participate because of stay-at-home restrictions in their communities.
Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said Wednesday that his team has started the process of procuring tests, both for the coronavirus and for the antibodies associated with it, the next necessary step toward returning to play. Sporting was the first team to devise a comprehensive protocol for the individual workouts.
“At the end of the day, I think all of us as teams want to get back to playing games as soon as possible, for so many different reasons. And I would say the players, I think, want to do that as well,” Vermes said. “We all want to make sure we’re doing it in a safe environment, and also we’re doing it in a meaningful way.”