For nearly three months the New York Red Bulls put their season on hold with the players, coaching staff, and all members of the club having to wait until they got the necessary permission to return to their training facility in East Hanover.
Finally, on Monday, May 25th, all members of the club returned to start individual training as they prepare to restart their season. The plan from Major League Soccer is to have a tournament down in Orlando, Florida, starting this coming June.
Here is the itinerary of what the players are going to go through when they start their training time at the facility.
- Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff members who do have access named in the plan.
- Sanitization and disinfection process for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players between every session.
- Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player before every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.
- Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.
- Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again upon completion of his workout while leaving the field.
- Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.
- Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.
- Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.
- An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.
- Maintaining a daily activity log and contact tracing.
A promising ruling additionally came from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy allowing sports stadiums to reopen for business without spectators.
“The protocol was in place, so the New York Red Bulls put together a really, really a good protocol, that when we got the green light from Governor Murphy, that we be ready to go.” said Head Coach Chris Armas. “It really ran smoothly, but the point from the beginning was to set the team up for safety and create this environment and safe haven, to put masks on.”
“It’s a great day for us, we’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, obviously our area has been hit very hard, but the club has had great patience” said captain Sean Davis. “We've prepared for this, the staff has done a great job designing sessions, medical team has been good designing the protocol. But at the same time it’s great to have the group back together again.”
UPDATE FROM WEDNESDAY JUNE 3RD
Major League Soccer and the MLSPA Union have officially ratified their collective Bargaining Agreement that will extend all the way to 2025 season. From Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC this was done to avoid a possible lockout by the league after Commissioner Don Garber announced it
That threat came out of nowhere and the players stopped training on Monday, June 1st in a day of protest at their respective training facilities. But thankfully cooler heads prevailed and the restart of the season will begin in Orlando, Florida before returning to Red Bull Arena.