CHICAGO (May 28, 2020) - Chicago Fire FC players are scheduled to begin voluntary individual workouts on Friday, May 29 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL. Voluntary individual workouts are the first phase in Major League Soccer’s intended return to play. The 2020 MLS season was suspended March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic though players have been adhering to individually tailored fitness programs.
The protocol for voluntary individual workouts at Club facilities was led by the Club’s medical staff and 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 voluntary individual player workout protocol set by the Fire and MLS prohibits media access to SeatGeek Stadium, restricting access to players and essential staff only. Chicago Fire FC will provide recorded interviews, b-roll footage and photography following the individual workout sessions.
This week there will be voluntary individual workouts tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, consisting of four separate 60-minute time slots each day. The Fire will have the use of two outdoor fields at SeatGeek Stadium (main stadium field and the team’s regular training field), divided into four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing between players (passing, shooting, etc.). The use of quadrants allows for the required social distancing needed to comply with safety protocols.
On May 6, MLS permitted its players use of outdoor team training fields for voluntary individual workouts. MLS currently has a moratorium on matches until at least June 8.
Other than outdoor training fields, the voluntary individual player workout protocol prohibits access to places such as, but not limited to, locker rooms, team gyms and team treatment rooms. Certain indoor areas may still only be accessed by players receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the Club’s Chief Medical Officer.
Per league rules, the Fire submitted a plan to MLS – and shared it with local and state authorities – that outlined how the team will implement health and safety protocols that included but were not limited to:
- Restricting training facility access to essential staff only.
- Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals, etc.) between every session.
- Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment (SSA) survey by each player prior to 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 required social distancing between vehicles.
- Player use of personal protective equipment from their vehicle to the field, and again when departing the field and returning to their vehicle.
- Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining social distancing from players at all times other than temperature check.
- Hand washing and disinfectant stations for frequent and required use before and after individual workouts.
Earlier today, MLS announced that clubs may begin to use outdoor team training fields for small group training sessions in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. All small group training sessions are voluntary and may not be in conflict with local public health official or government policies. The league-wide moratorium on full team training remains in place through, and including, Monday, June 1. To clarify, the Fire will commence voluntary individual workouts on Friday. The Club will eventually progress to small group training sessions in the near future.