By Nathan Wertheimer
You may have heard the news that Major League Soccer maybe sending all 26 teams to ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando to finish off the season with 34 games each. All teams would be staying at one of many Disney resorts while being quarantined without their families. This one issue is something that some of the players do not like. Security will be very tight to keep the general public away.
No one knows how long this Coronavirus pandemic is going to play on. I believe this is the best option for MLS with everything going on in today’s world. While players, coaches, and staff member all would be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a regular bases along with medical tests too.
This is not the first time; professional soccer games have been played at Disney. During the Orlando City Soccer Club early USL days, they played an entire season at Disney while the Citrus Bowl was under renovations. There was limited seating for the fans. It was a unique experience had by all.
Disney has the room to play multiple soccer games at the same time. If the NBA decides to come to Disney as well, it would be the first time that two sport leagues would be playing games at the same time. This has never happened in the past. I’m sure Disney would like to have both MLS and the NBA for the remainder of their seasons.
There have been other discussions about MLS teams practicing at the Osceola Heritage Park and at Orlando City Soccer Club Training Complex. This would make sense when teams are not playing at Disney. With the new OCSC training complex already open, many teams would take advance of it.
There will be no fans in the stands if MLS bring all teams to Disney for the duration of all games. However, fans will be able to see live broadcast of soccer games on ESPN, ABC, and other TV networks.
Right now it is unclear how local and national media outlets will be covering these soccer games. I’m sure the media will be keeping their stance from all the players and have to abide by all new media guideline rules which will be implemented and enforced. Everyone understands this is a new way of life.
Finally, I am ready for MLS to get back in action on the field. This year I have only covered one MLS soccer game. Many people staying at home are looking for new TV content and live sports again. If a vaccine is made and disturbed then you may see fans back in the stands and return to normalcy. We are all in this together.