The Fire are one step closer to restarting their season.
The team announced Thursday that voluntary individual workouts will begin Friday at SeatGeek Stadium. Major League Soccer allowed teams to resume such activities on May 6, dependent on whether they also got clearance from local authorities and health officials. Phase 3 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois amid the coronavirus pandemic begins Friday.
The Fire are one of the last teams to be cleared for individual workouts. DC United was recently given the go-ahead, according to reports, leaving only the San Jose Earthquakes without clearance.
In a news release, the Fire said the team’s medical staff led the process of determining protocol for the individual workouts, which “involved review and consultation with MLS and state and local medical and infectious disease experts.”
“By allowing players to utilize team-operated fields for individual workouts on a voluntary basis, the Fire will be able to provide a controlled environment that ensures adherence to safety protocols and social-distancing measures for players and staff,” the team said in a statement.
The first voluntary workouts will be Friday and Saturday, in four separate 60-minute slots. Players will have access to the stadium field, as well as their regular on-site training pitch. Only players rehabbing from operations will have access to treatment rooms and other areas.
Also Thursday, MLS announced that teams can begin to use outdoor fields for voluntary small group sessions. Those would also have to be in compliance with health and safety protocols created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts.
The Fire said they would “eventually progress to small group training sessions in the near future.”
MLS announced March 12 that it was suspending the season. The league has proposed restarting with a quarantined tournament in Orlando, Florida, although players have voiced concerns about how long they’d be separated from their families. On Wednesday, ESPN reported the plan is now to hold the tournament within a tighter schedule.