The National Women's Soccer League is following in the footsteps of Major League Soccer in allowing players to use team training grounds to begin practicing again, according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post.
Similiar to MLS's plan, NWSL announces it allow individual workouts at team training grounds starting Wednesday. Weight rooms and locker rooms remain off-limits. League continues to eye May 16 for ramped-up sessions with multiple players.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) May 4, 2020
The important caveat here: weight rooms and locker rooms remain closed.
Goff reported last week the NWSL was planning on reopening training camps May 16, far before the likes of other professional leagues in the U.S. and abroad. This measure is a step in that same direction.
The thought is to maintain social distancing and all government protocols while providing a safer option for players to train rather than the local park, similar to the NBA's easing of their ban on opening team facilities in jurisdictions where it is safe to do so. Soccer leagues across the pond have also begun to allow players to train at team facilities.
Germany's Bundesliga was the first European soccer league to reopen team facilities for restricted training sessions, with the goal to become the first major sports league to return to play following the global COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The Korean Baseball Organization will resume competitive play at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
In England, Arsenal allowed one player per pitch at a time to uphold safe social distancing at their London Colney facility on April 28. Yesterday, following Italy's easement of lockdown restrictions on team sports, it was announced Serie A clubs could begin training once again today. Clubs like Juventus could now recall international players who went home to spend the lockdown with their families, like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Soccer leagues in Holland and France, on the other hand, have pulled the plug on their sporting seasons in accordance with their government mandates.
While it's certainly a step in the right direction for a return to sports, considerable caution will still be needed for the gradual reopening of social distancing measures. Like all sports in the U.S., the NWSL has been out of commission since mid-March.
Still, the supposed start date of April 18 for the league's eighth season in existence remains indefinitely suspended. Teams have told their players to be in their market cities within two weeks.
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