Philadelphia Union To Begin Voluntary Small Group Training Sessions
Following newly outlined health and safety protocol, team will begin voluntary small group training on Thursday, June 4; Union to continue to train on outdoor field at 76ers Fieldhouse complex
CHESTER, PA (June 4, 2020) – Philadelphia Union today announced the team has been approved to begin voluntary small group training sessions on an outdoor training field at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, DE starting on Thursday, June 4. The small group training sessions will provide an opportunity for players to perform fitness and technical workouts in small groups while maintaining physical distancing protocols, even within individual groups.
Philadelphia Union will continue to provide media with training footage, photos and soundbites following the workouts. Health and safety protocol set by Major League Soccer prohibits media access to the complex including parking lots and training grounds. Access will be restricted to players and essential staff only.
Voluntary small group training comes a few weeks after the league initially announced the opportunity for clubs to being voluntary individual workouts. Small group training will continue to prohibit access to club 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 resumption of small group training, the Union worked with both local health officials and the league to ensure the safety of all players and staff on-site and shared their plan with both parties that outlined how the team will implement health and safety protocols. As put forth by Major League Soccer, the club must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Clubs must utilize outdoor fields as indoor training facilities remain closed to all players with the exception of those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residences.
- Clubs may divide each full field into a maximum of two equal halves and may assign a group of players to each full or half field.
- Clubs may clearly define 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 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.
Additionally, the club must maintain the health and safety protocols implemented for the voluntary individual workouts including but not limited to:
- 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.