Just Like The MLS, NWSL Players Can Voluntarily Return To Practice
The NWSL league-wide moratorium on full team training remains in place through, and including, Friday, May 15.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced on May 6 that all clubs may permit the use of outdoor team training fields under circumstances outlined by the NWSL medical task force in the league’s “Return to Play Phased Protocol”.
The “Return to Play Phased Protocol” details all health and safety guidelines and requires clubs to respect all federal, state, and local mandates. Each club is setting their own schedule.
On May 11, North Carolina Courage’s players will be on the field for the first time in weeks. They return to voluntary individual workouts under protocol set by the NWSL.
By limiting training access to essential staff only, the club will be providing a safe, controlled environment for all players. Safety protocols and social distancing measures are in place for all players and essential staff.
The league will control the progression through each phase, and clubs must have the approval of their medical team to advance.
An essential staff member will be allowed to oversee training in this phase while maintaining a proper social distance and with the sole purpose of ensuring players are following all league and team protocols.
The voluntary, individual player workout phase prohibits access to club facilities including but not limited to locker rooms, weight rooms, and indoor team training rooms.
Team weight rooms and training rooms are still only accessible to players receiving medical treatments that can’t be performed at home.
The following principles apply to all phases of the NWSL return to play protocol:
- All activity must follow government, state, and local mandates
- Each team must have approval from their medical staff to advance to the next phase
- Teams should limit staff to the essential personnel necessary to conduct each phase of training and competition
- Players will undergo a daily symptom screening prior to entering team facilities
- Players who are fulfilling self-quarantine for any reason are not permitted to train with other individuals or at team facilities
- Players, coaches and staff who are sick or have close contact with individuals who are sick must inform the team’s Certified Athletic Trainer, stay home, and not participate in training
- All individuals should practice good hand hygiene, and avoid touching their face, nose and eyes with their hands as much as possible
- Clubs will thoroughly clean and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces daily
Clubs will confirm with the league all communication to players and staff members on when they may begin training on team fields and will provide detailed procedures and scheduling information specific to their market.
In addition to each club working with their players, the league has collaborated on an initiative to recognize and celebrate healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Real Heroes Project,” has athletes representing the ATP, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, WTA, and WWE, among other professional and esports leagues, including Activision Blizzard Esports and Electronic Arts, are dedicating their jerseys and uniforms to a special healthcare hero who is helping their community on the forefront of this global crisis.
Sky Blue FC’s Carli Lloyd and the Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan will be representing the NWSL in the initiative. “I am very grateful to be a part of this powerful project. I can’t imagine what it is like every day for these frontline healthcare workers and they all deserve to be recognized for their heroic efforts,” said Lloyd.