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MLS players return to training ground for voluntary individual workouts

Several MLS teams are back on the training fields after the league cleared the start of voluntary individual workouts in line with local public health or government policies. Clubs have been joining on a rolling basis, pending approval of their training plans by MLS and local authorities.

All player workouts are voluntary and must be conducted in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts (see full list of safety protocols). This video illustrates the protocol, which provides players with a controlled training environment.

These individual workouts are the first training sessions held at club facilities since MLS instituted a full team training moratorium following the suspension of league play on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium is currently set to run through June 1 and matches are suspended until at least June 8.

Here are the clubs that have kicked off individual player workouts (listed in alphabetical order):

Atlanta United

Atlanta United were the first MLS team to announce players would be returning to individual workouts with sessions on Wednesday, May 6 and Friday, May 8 at its Children Healthcare of Atlanta training ground.

The sessions were designed to include six to seven players to allow the maximum amount of space needed for players to comply with safety protocols.

“Very happy,” said Atlanta star Pity Martinez after the first day of training. “They took important measures at the club to take care of us and take care of the [team] personnel. As long as it’s done with caution, it’s perfect.

“At home we have families and we want to protect them. It’s a good start given everything that we’re going through, which is difficult. I was training well at home. But being back on the field and seeing teammates is very gratifying. It does good for us mentally and we hope this all passes soon. In the United States things are really complicated.”

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati returned to training on Friday, May 8, and the mood was good in camp, as Greg Garza discussed the impact of a return to training from a team chemistry perspective.

“Even though you still maintain that social distancing I think just to be around everybody, to get that camaraderie once again, to build that chemistry — something you haven’t had for the past few months — is very important for all of us,” he said. “Even just to chat and scream from afar and get those inside jokes going again, that’s very important for all of us.”

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids returned to the field for individual training sessions on Thursday, May 14. The players were split between the main pitch at Dickʼs Sporting Goods Park and the regular training pitch on the complex. Each group consisted of three or four players training for 60-minute voluntary sessions.

“It was great. It almost felt like a team training,” head coach Robin Fraser said after the end of the three sessions. “Weʼve seen each other on Zoom so much recently, but to see each other in the flesh was nice.”

Columbus Crew SC

A day after receiving the all clear, Columbus Crew SC saw its players return to the Crew SC Training Center at Obetz for voluntary individual workouts at the facility’s outdoor training fields on Wednesday, May 13.

FC Dallas

FC Dallas started individual workouts on the morning of Monday, May 11. The team organized two separate training sessions consisting of four players per field to allow the maximum amount of space needed for players to comply with safety protocols in place.

Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo returned for voluntary individual workouts at Houston Sports Park on May 7:

Inter Miami CF

Inter Miami CF began voluntary individual training sessions at Inter Miami CF Training Complex on the first day permitted by MLS: May 6. Procedures were created in compliance with health and safety protocols and in consultation with infectious disease experts and the medical team at Baptist Health.


Sixteen players appeared for the first day of LAFC voluntary workouts on May 7, as LAFC became the first Los Angeles-based sports team to begin practicing. Among those practicing were defenders Jordan Harvey, Mohamed El-Munir and Diego Palacios and midfielders Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eduard Atuesta.

LA Galaxy

The Galaxy announced they would start individual training sessions at Dignity Health Sports Park on May 14.

Minnesota United FC

Following two months of individual at-home training sessions, Minnesota United players began voluntary individual training on May 12 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota.

“There’s a physical element,” said head coach Adrian Heath after the first day of training. “But I think mentally, as much as anything, getting them out, back in a familiar training facility, working in front of the coaches again, I think will be a huge boost for the players. It’s been a good first day. The lads look in really good shape. And tomorrow, we’ll sort of increase in demand.”

Nashville SC

The expansion club opened its facilities for voluntary player workouts beginning on May 7.

“How well our players and staff execute this first phase we’re using as a league will be critical for us getting to stage two, small group training, then ultimately stage three, full team training,” Nashville GM Mike Jacobs said. “It’s really important to make sure our support staff is really buttoned up with protocols. I think we’re doing a good job of that.”

Orlando City SC

Orlando City SC began voluntary individual training sessions on May 6 at their Orlando City Training Ground.

Players participated utilizing two fields, divided into eight training spots. The club is coordinating with team partner Orlando Health to help maintain health and safety protocols at the facility.

Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers held individual workout sessions at the Timbers Training Center on May 7 and May 8.

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake returned for voluntary individual workouts at the Zions Bank Training Center on May 7.

After training for the first time, midfielder Damir Kreilach said it was an important initial step.

“For the last two months we were able just to run outside and do some stuff in the garage,” he told reporters on a conference call. “So after two months to be the first time on the field, it was great. We did technical stuff, some conditioning stuff with the ball, some sprints. It was a decent tempo, high level, so every one of us was very very happy to be back on the field with other teammates. It will be good to do more sessions per week but it was the first step and now we have to take care and go step by step forward.”

Seattle Sounders

Sounders players, including rostered Tacoma Defiance players, are set to begin voluntary individual workouts on Monday, May 18 on the outdoor fields at Starfire Sports.

“This is a positive development for our players, and I know they are excited to get back to training on our fields, even if only individually at the moment,” Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer said in a club statement.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City players began voluntary individual workouts on Wednesday, May 6, at Compass Minerals National Performance Center in Kansas City, adhering to the detailed safety protocols and social distancing measures.

Toronto FC

Toronto started voluntary individual workouts at the BMO Training ground on Monday, May 11.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Whitecaps FC kicked off workouts on May 12 after the provincial public health officer, local health authorities, and infectious disease experts, in coordination with the club’s COVID-19 working group and MLS, had approved the club’s plan to move into the first phase of return to play. 

“We are pleased to move forward with the first phase of return to play in a safe and responsible manner,” said Whitecaps FC sporting director Axel Schuster in a statement. “We have worked very closely with all the health authorities, and impacted groups, to prepare a strategic and coordinated plan for players and staff to use the training fields.”

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