MLS looking at having all teams play in Orlando

MLS looking at having all teams play in Orlando

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.

Earlier Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said his state was open to leagues looking to restart, or start, their seasons.

“All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said. “What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida.”

The ESPN facility has 17 fields, so it could accommodate multiple teams. MLS held its All-Star game in Orlando last year.

“What I can say if this community is ready to do it, then Orlando is the perfect city to hold an event like that,” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said. “The experience, infrastructure, everything. Orlando has everything to hold it. If the league decides to do that, I think it’ll be a great decision to play it here. It’s just rumours right now, but I don’t see any other city that has the experience and possibility to hold such an event like Orlando.”

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.”

Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press

MLS

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Bids for Kids poster
Wolf Creek Youth Foundation online auction gets ‘overwhelming’ response

Santa’s Bids for Kids auction to benefit youth programs in Rimbey, Ponoka

The Red Deer Games Foundation has made changes to its grant program as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo supplied)
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The foundation postponed the spring 2020 grant program due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Most Read