The San Jose Earthquakes announced Thursday they have been given clearance by Santa Clara County to begin training sessions at the club’s training facility starting next week. The Earthquakes are the last of the 26 teams in MLS to have been given clearance to train, with the league on ice for the past 12 weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The news comes alongside news from MLS, also on Thursday, giving teams clearance to conduct mandatory full-team training sessions moving forward, provided they get full clearance from relevant authorities, maintain enhanced hygiene practices and test all players, coaches and staff every two days for coronavirus.
The first teams returned to training about a month ago, with teams at first allowing only individual sessions, followed by small group sessions with players allowed to pass the ball back and forth over the past week. Officially, both individual and small group sessions were voluntary, but the league’s release indicates the full-team training will now be required of all players who are healthy.
MLS has not announced the full return-to-play plan but teams are expected to be headed to Orlando in about three weeks for a week or two of training there before taking part in a short tournament that will last about a month, according to reputable reports over the past several weeks.
It will be interesting to see whether the Quakes having to sit on the sidelines longer will mean they will be at a disadvantage, especially since Matias Almeyda’s playing style is predicated on fitness. At the same time, perhaps his team’s fitness levels will help carry them through this stretch and to the next phase of the season. We’ll see, but the team will be back on the training field officially in just a few days. Soccer is inching back to life.
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