MLS Union: ‘Almost 20%’ of Players Contracted COVID-19 During 2020 Season
Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press
The MLS conducted its return-to-play tournament and regular season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and as a result, “almost 20 percent” of the league’s athletes tested positive, according to Bob Foose, the executive director of the league’s players association (h/t ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle).
Per Carlisle, that equates to about 150 players testing positive throughout the season.
“Almost 20 percent of the players in the league, at one point or another, were infected with the virus, which meant that those who became infected and those who didn’t become infected, became dangerous and dangerous to their partners, their family and their friends just by virtue of doing their jobs,” Foose said.
Some positive tests were thrust into the public eye, as outbreaks of the virus forced both FC Dallas and Nashville SC to drop out of the league’s “MLS Is Back” tournament in July. When the regular season resumed, the Colorado Rapids missed five games as they dealt with their own outbreak, complicating how the league could determine which teams were eligible for the playoffs.
Columbus and Seattle will play for the MLS Cup on Saturday night, and the league is attempting to organize a March start for the 2021 season, though Foose feared that would not allow enough time to allow for a “significant amount of physical healing that has to happen.”