SEATTLE, WASH. – After receiving approval from government officials and public health authorities in Washington State, Seattle Sounders FC players are confirmed to begin voluntary individual workouts on Monday, May 18 at Starfire Sports. Sounders FC players now have the opportunity to safely conduct voluntary individual workouts on the club’s outdoor training fields. All individual player workouts on Monday and beyond are closed to the general public.
“Though it’s a small step in our road back to normalcy, we are pleased to have been given the green light by our regional authorities to begin voluntary individual player workouts tomorrow at Starfire,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “We continue to work constantly with our government officials in Washington State, in addition to public health authorities and Major League Soccer, and we are thankful to everyone involved in that collaborative process that we are able to push forward tomorrow. We look forward to welcoming our players back for individual workouts, albeit from a safe social distance under the league’s new guidelines.”
MEDIA NOTE: As part of Major League’s Soccer return to play protocols, the voluntary individual player workouts are not available to working members of the press or the general public. The club’s operations at Starfire Sports remain closed. Under strict social distancing guidelines, Sounders FC will gather still photography, b-roll and player soundbytes following Monday’s individual workouts. Media interested in receiving those assets should touch base with a representative of Sounders FC Communications.
By allowing players, on a voluntary basis, back on the Starfire Sports training fields for individual workouts, the club is able to provide a controlled environment that ensures adherence to safety protocols and physical distancing measures for players and staff. Today’s announcement applies to all professional players within the club, including rostered Tacoma Defiance athletes.
“This is a positive development for our players, and I know they are excited to get back to training on our fields, even if only individually at the moment,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “This has been a trying time for everyone at our club, as it has for our entire community, and we’ll take the opportunity to appreciate this small step forward tomorrow.”
The individual player workout protocol prohibits access to club indoor facilities including but not limited to locker rooms, team gyms, and team training rooms. Team gyms and training rooms may still only be accessed by players receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the club’s Chief Medical Officer.
Prior to initiating any individual player workouts, Sounders FC submitted to MLS a club-specific plan that outlines how the team is implement health and safety protocols, including:
- Restricting training facility 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 Assessment 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 maximum distance between vehicles.
- Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to 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 individual workouts.
- Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.
- An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.
As announced by Major League Soccer on May 14, the moratorium for small group and team training sessions has been extended until June 1. Monday’s voluntary individual player workouts represent the first activity of any kind for Sounders FC at Starfire Sports following the COVID-19-related shutdown that began on March 12.