D.C. United will begin voluntary small group training at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 4.
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday, May 28 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.
D.C. United will implement the following plan approved by the league and local government officials, inclusive of detailed health and safety protocols based on consultations with local and national health professionals and adhere to the following guidelines:
- Players will only have access to the field at Audi Field, as indoor facilities remain closed to all players with the exception of those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation under the direction of club medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residences.
- Audi Field can be divided into a maximum of two equal halves and a group of players will be assigned to each full or half field.
- Audi Field can be divided into up to six zones per half field, spaced at least 10 feet apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time in order to maintain physical distancing standards throughout the session. For clarity, a maximum of six players may be assigned to a single group with each player accommodated in a separate zone.
- During training sessions, players may switch zones within their own group only if another player is not currently in that zone and players must maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from all other players and coaches while moving between zones.
- Within a single group, players may pass the ball and shoot on goal; however, all training exercises must allow players to maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from one another.
- Players may only train with the other players within their own group and may not interact with other groups. While the groups may not be rearranged during a single training session, clubs may rearrange the combination of players in each group from session to session.
- Coaches and technical staff must wear a face mask at all times and may direct players from the perimeter of the field, never entering the field, while maintaining at least 10-feet of distance from other staff and players.
- Only approved equipment may be used during the training session including balls; small and regular goals; rubber dots; small discs and cones; rebounders; rings; GPS Pods and personal equipment that is not shared between players. Mannequins, poles, bands, weights and ball machines may not be used.
- Goalkeepers may not spit on their gloves and must clean, disinfect and sanitize their gloves after each training.
In addition to the health and safety protocols found above, D.C. United will continue to maintain the health and safety protocols implemented during the club’s voluntary individual workout session, hosted at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA, home of D.C. United’s United Soccer League (USL) affiliate, Loudoun United FC, on Friday, May 29 including:
- Restricting training ground access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.
- Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.
- Completion of a Standard Screening questionnaire 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 maximum distance between vehicles.
- Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to his designated position on the field, and again on return to the parking lot.
- Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.
- Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after sessions.
- An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.
- The league-wide moratorium on full team training remains in place through, and including, Monday, June 1.
The small group training protocol set by Major League Soccer prohibits media access to club training facilities, restricting access to players and essential staff only.
D.C. United Communications will provide photos and video for media use upon request following small group training.