FC Dallas’ plans for a return to play took a blow as the club confirmed that a player has tested positive for COVID-19.
The un-named player presented symptoms and was tested for the novel Coronavirus. MLS’ training protocol does not currently require that players and staff are tested as is the case in other leagues.
MLS President Mark Abbott told reporters on a conference call earlier in the day that league-wide testing would begin as part of the third phase of the league’s training program, which would allow full group practices. It wasn’t deemed necessary to test players earlier due to the social distancing restrictions in place.
Monday and Tuesday were scheduled rest days for players, and several sources at FC Dallas were surprised to learn of the positive result with FC Dallas containing the news effectively.
The club did announce that all players and staff who came potentially came into contact with the affected player are being tested.
“We followed all the precautionary measures in reinstituting players into voluntary individual training sessions,” explained Gina Miller of FC Dallas on a conference call. “Because of the positive COVID-19 test we opted to enact and institute COVID-19 tests for all staff, players, and personnel who might have come into some sort of contact with the player.”
Team practices are now indefinitely suspended with three weeks before teams are due to arrive in Orlando for MLS’ tournament at ESPN Wide World of Soccer. Abbott had discussed a dispensation for teams that would need to arrive a week into the training portion. It now appears that FC Dallas may fall into that category.
FC Dallas youth and academy practices are still ongoing. The club also confirmed that North Texas SC’s training schedule will not be affected. In all cases, they were considered to have no risk of exposure.