2 players test positive for COVID-19 as teams arrive in Orlando for MLS tournament

Michelle Kaufman, Miami Herald on

Published in Soccer

Major League Soccer is officially back, with five teams already in Orlando, Florida, and sequestered in the league bubble at the Swan and Dolphin Resort and Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The rest of the teams will arrive this week in advance of the MLS is Back Tournament, which kicks off July 8 with Inter Miami vs. Orlando City (8 p.m. EDT, ESPN).

After a three-month stoppage, the league resumes under a COVID cloud, intensified by the recent surge in cases in Florida. As of Sunday night, 329 players and staff were tested on site, and two were positive, both of whom were players who had just arrived.

Anyone who tests positive while in Orlando is seen by a doctor and moved to the isolation area of the hotel until he or she receives medical clearance.

Prior to teams traveling, 18 of 668 MLS players and six club staff had tested positive for COVID-19 since full training began the first week of June. Any person with a positive test was not allowed to travel to Orlando until receiving back-to-back negative results.

Players have been tested every other day since training began.


Prior to traveling to Orlando, all players, coaches, referees, club personnel and league staff are required to complete an additional two tests 24 hours apart and within approximately 72 hours of travel. Upon arrival in Florida, all individuals are required to immediately take another test and are quarantined until they receive the results of that test.

The San Jose Earthquakes were the first team to arrive on June 24. Orlando City moved in the next day. FC Dallas arrived on Saturday wearing black-and-white t-shirts with the words: "History must not repeat itself" and the Black Lives Matter hashtag. The Columbus Crew and Minnesota United landed on Sunday.

Inter Miami will travel by bus from its Fort Lauderdale training facility on Wednesday.

Asked if he feels safe thus far, San Jose defender Tommy Thompson said: "That's an important question. I do feel safe. There have been a bunch of precautions taken. I have already been tested a few times. There is a process in place to protect us from the virus. I'm really optimistic about this tournament...You can feel the buzz in the air."


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