The return of the Major League Soccer season hit a roadblock after FC Dallas suspended its training sessions after one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus.
FC Dallas announced the suspension Wednesday. Players had been at team facilities for voluntary individual workouts. The MLS season has been suspended since mid-March due to the pandemic.
Teams were just two games into the 2020 season at the time of the stoppage. The league is now in negotiations to resume the 2020 season with a tournament in late June in Orlando, Fla. Team owners and the players union announced a new labor agreement on Wednesday, which clears the path for the tournament.
No players have been at FC Dallas’ facility since Friday, in part due to the labor negotiations. The unidentified FC Dallas player who tested positive is the second known MLS player to test positive for the coronavirus. Philadelphia Union forward Kacper Przybylko also tested positive in March.
“All the proper social distancing protocols have been followed during our individual team training, but out of an abundance of caution, at this time training has been suspended until further notice,” FC Dallas said in a statement.
FC Dallas said no other cases or symptoms have been identified from their soccer operations, front office staff or Toyota Stadium staff.
“Now based upon guidance from our COVID-19 task force and Major League Soccer health officials, this case does not present a risk to our front office personnel, Toyota Stadium Staff, FC Dallas players or coaching staff, or any recent visitors to Toyota Stadium,” FC Dallas said.
“In addition to working without infectious disease specialists, we have remained in constant consultation with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], local health authorities and Major League Soccer regarding this situation.”
MLS approved phase one of its return to play plan in May. That phase includes voluntary individual workouts. Players, staff and media are required to maintain social distancing guidelines. Players are also given their own quadrant of a field where they must stay for the entirety of the sessions.
FC Dallas has yet to start the second phase of the three phase plan. The second phase includes small group training and temperature checks. The third phase of the plan includes full group training.