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Soccer

MLS extends moratorium on training until April 4

Inter Miami CF head coach Diego Alonso, right, watches players participate in drills during a team practice session in January.
Inter Miami CF head coach Diego Alonso, right, watches players participate in drills during a team practice session in January.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

MLS extended its moratorium on training sessions for a third time Wednesday, barring players and staff from using team facilities until at least April 4 because of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The MLS has suspended its season until May 10, postponing 115 games leaguewide.

The training moratorium, first imposed on March 13, the day after the league suspended the season, allows only players requiring specialized medical treatment and rehabilitation that cannot be performed at home to access team facilities. In addition, players have been advised to do conditioning alone at home, and not practice or train in groups.

In addition, the league said it expects players to remain in each club’s respective market although it is now reviewing individual requests by players to relocate by car. With the league observing strict personal-distancing rules, MLS has said it does not want players or staff visiting airports or traveling by plane.

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MLS officials say they remain in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canada and additional extensions to the training moratorium are possible. The Galaxy last trained as a team March 12, and LAFC’s last practice was a day earlier.

Players now say the mental part of training away from their teammates is the difficult part of the moratorium.

“I have not touched a ball,” Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. “It’s kind of hard to do that on your own. If we can get maybe one or two guys together that I know have been safe and isolated for a while to actually touch the ball with each other, like in a park or a field or something, I’m sure we’re going to try to do that soon. Especially if this thing lingers on.”

However even that modest attempt at restoring a sense of normalcy would likely violate league and government guidelines for social distancing.

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LAFC coach Bob Bradley, who is trying to bring his team together through video conferencing, has suggested players can do ball work by using a wall.

“This is a different challenge for all of us,” he said.

LAFC defender Jordan Harvey said he bought fitness equipment from teammate Adama Diomande and had other equipment delivered to his Studio City home by the team, allowing him to work up to two hours a day by running, pedaling a stationary bike and doing circuit training with weights.

“It’s about not dropping my fitness level to a level where it’s difficult to get back,” said Harvey, at 36 the team’s oldest player. “I readjust and we see what’s happening but obviously [I] can’t predict the future.

“When it is time, if we do end up playing, we will be ready at that point. And then if it isn’t that time, we’ll have to do something else.”


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