First Game, First Goal: MLS Commemorates League's Inaugural Match on April 6

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Major League Soccer launches MLS Unites in response to coronavirus pandemic

Major League Soccer has launched a new MLS Unites initiative, showcasing all the league’s efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league released a video featuring teams and players throughout MLS offering support to fans and thanking doctors and other health workers who are helping fight the spread of COVID-19.

MLS also launched a new page on its website to host information about MLS Unites, including educational tools and its clubs’ community support efforts.

It’s time to rally and inspire. #MLSUnites pic.twitter.com/QFA1TFrN3R

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 30, 2020

MLS Unites will focus on three areas — education, entertainment and community involvement. The league will continue to promote health and safety messages with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and other public health officials. With MLS play suspended through May, the platform will also offer content from around the league to entertain fans.

MLS also plans to showcase “community heroes” from each team’s market, highlighting a different hero each week. 

“Bringing together our Major League Soccer community, all while staying apart, is the spirit of MLS Unites,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “During this challenging moment in history, I know we can count on the MLS family to come together when we need each other most. Together with our fans, players, teams and partners, we will shine a light on what can be done, and on the heroes leading the way.”

The post Major League Soccer launches MLS Unites in response to coronavirus pandemic appeared first on Pro Soccer USA.

Original author: Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA
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TWIM: FOX Sports Brings New Commentary to Inaugural El Trafico Broadcast

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Major League Soccer Unveils ‘MLS Unites’

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Life without soccer: MLS extends training moratorium one week

Every day MLS, the NWSL and the USL are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Soccer USA will provide the latest news and updates, examples of what the soccer community is doing to pass time and some recommendations for readers to keep busy while hunkering down at home.

The Latest

Major League Soccer extended its league-wide training moratorium an additional week through Friday, April 3. Under this moratorium, team training facilities are expected to remain closed and players are expected to remain in their market and not train in groups.

The MLS season is currently slated to resume in less than seven weeks, with a target return date of May 10. This extended suspension was announced last week in accordance with CDC guidelines that called for the cancellation or postponement of all large group gatherings of 50 people or more during the ensuing eight weeks.

On Tuesday morning, MLS commissioner Don Garber emphasized that the league still hopes to play every game of the season and is currently brainstorming solutions to make this possible.

“Once we are comfortable that we can get our players with three to four weeks of training, and that we have the guidance that we can get crowds back into our stadiums, then we will then begin the relaunch of our season,” Garber said. “Our intent is to play as many games as we possibly can.”

U.S. Soccer president prioritizes settling with USWNT

In her first-ever press conference in her new role yesterday, U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said the top priority for the federation is to reach a settlement in its equal pay lawsuit with the U.S. women’s national team before the case goes to trial.

Parlow Cone doubled down on her dismissal of the sexist language used by U.S. Soccer lawyers that caused the resignation of former president Carlos Cordeiro and her assumption of the role. Claiming a “fundamental error” in the federation’s internal process, Parlow Cone said U.S. Soccer is investigating the issue while seeking settlement to begin the process of rebuilding players’ and fans’ trust of the federation.

However, she continued to support the U.S. Soccer defense that the men’s and women’s national teams perform different jobs, claiming the pay disparity came from separate collective bargaining agreements, not gender-based discrimination.

USWNT spokeswoman Molly Levinson fired back a firm response to Parlow Cone’s comments: “The solution here is clear, simple and unequivocal. Equal. Pay.”

Liga MX president tests positive for coronavirus

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla tested positive for COVID-19 last week. In an interview with Adrenalina, Bonilla said he woke up with a sore throat several days after returning from a FIFA meeting in Zurich. He self-quarantined at home until he received the positive result and will remain home for the recommended 14 days.

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla tested positive for #coronavirus last Friday. He spoke last night to @adrenalina about how he believes he contracted COVID-19, why he got tested and the conclusion of the 2020 Clausura.

Quotes in the photo below #ligamxeng pic.twitter.com/wAOXQtg6z7

— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) March 24, 2020

The Liga MX season is currently suspended, and the league has not set a date for its return. Teams will undergo a “mini-preseason” before returning to action, and each team is expected to report on the health of individual players during the suspension. In the meantime, the league is creating the “E-Liga” to support online game play between the 18 clubs in Liga MX to fill the time until play can resume.

Inter Miami changes logo to support social distancing

Inter Miami will sport a new graphic in the coming weeks as the team made a slight change to the logo to support social distancing practices. The design pushed the two birds on the team’s crest apart, creating space between them.

The team shared the new logo on social media on Monday, calling for fans to “stay home, be smart and practice social distancing.”

We miss you and we want to see you 𝘀𝗼𝗼𝗻. For that to happen we all need to stay home, be smart and practice 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴.

— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) March 23, 2020

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Original author: Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA
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Major League Soccer Training Moratorium Continues Through April 3

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Life Without Soccer: News and Updates for Friday, March 20

Every day MLS, the NWSL and the USL are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Soccer USA will provide the latest news and updates, examples of what the soccer community is doing to pass time and some recommendations for readers to keep busy while hunkering down at home.

The Latest

In accordance with the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended mass gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed for eight weeks, Major League Soccer extended the suspension of its season.

MLS, which initially suspended the season for 30 days, has a new target return date of May 10.

In a statement Thursday, the league said it is still committed to playing a full 34-game season and is examining the possibility of MLS Cup being played in December.

“MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season,” the statement read. “The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout the process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.”

The announcement comes a day after the USL Championship and League One was postponed through at least May 10.

Concacaf, which had already postponed the Champions League and the Men’s Olympic Qualifiers for 30 days, has also delayed the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship from April 18 to May 3 in Toluca, Mexico.

The confederation also moved the Concacaf Futsal Championship in Guatemala from May 1 to May 10.

“Both competitions require significant international travel for a number of our member associations and their teams and we have made this decision with their welfare in mind,” Concacaf said in a statement.

New York City FC became the second MLS team to have a staff member test positive for coronavirus. A member of the club’s sporting department is feeling well after displaying mild symptoms and is observing appropriate isolation protocols, according to a club statement.

“I would like to sincerely thank all those who have offered the club medical advice and support throughout this process. As a club, we are closely following all advice and taking all possible preventative measures,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said. “Thankfully, I am pleased to say that the individual affected is at home and is feeling better after only a short illness.”

Because NYCFC played Tigres UANL in a Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal game at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls consulted club medical officials since some staff members worked the game.

“In consultation with club medical officials, it has been determined that our staff working the match were at low risk for exposure, given the limited interaction with NYCFC personnel and the time between the match and beginning of symptoms,” the statement read. “We will continue to monitor and take all necessary precautions.”

A 34-year-old LAFC season ticket-holder died Thursday morning after a battle with pneumonia caused by COVID-19. Jeffrey Ghazarian was a Los Angeles FC season ticket-holder,  the club confirmed Thursday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of LAFC Member Jeff Ghazarian,” LAFC said in a post with a photo of him at a fan event. “Our thoughts are with his family and all those affected during this difficult time.”

We are deeply saddened by the loss of LAFC Member Jeff Ghazarian.

Our thoughts are with his family and all those affected during this difficult time. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/eWDnFxXEuO

— LAFC (@LAFC) March 20, 2020

Ghazarian reportedly developed a cough after a visit to Disney World and Universal Studios, and was hospitalized when he developed a high fever. He tested positive for COVID-19 and scans showed his lungs were as much as 70% blocked by pneumonia. Both theme parks have since temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus.

Although most soccer professionals in North America have acted responsibility, heeding warnings about mass gatherings and social distancing, not all millennials have gotten the message, apparently.

Bars and beaches during spring break in Florida remain crowded despite the worldwide pandemic. Sky Blue FC and USWNT midfielder Midge Purce, a 24-year-old Harvard graduate doesn’t understand and took to Twitter to pen what she called “a message to my generation.”

COVID19-A message to my generation:

— Margaret "Midge" Purce (@100Purcent) March 19, 2020

FC Dallas outside back Reggie Cannon was hoping for a transfer in the summer transfer window, but the 21-year-old, who has emerged as a USMNT regular, believes the coronavirus pandemic may sidetrack those plans.

“Yeah, it’s obviously a concern,” Cannon told reporters on a conference call Thursday. “Being transparent, I want to be present in my situation and give Dallas my 100 percent for however long I’m here. But the goal was to be transferred in the summer, and obviously teams are in a scramble right now because it’s a tough time for transfers at the moment. Now the most important thing is safety and health.”

Meanwhile at Colorado, Pro Soccer USA’s Marco Cummings reports Rapids coach Robin Fraser said the league’s suspension hasn’t halted a battle for the club’s No. 1 goalkeeping job between Clint Irwin and William Yarbrough, who joined the club on loan earlier this month.

“I think right now Clint has been good and solid and offers the maturity, composure and obviously good goalkeeping ability. He has been the number one to this point,” Fraser said. “I do think bringing in Will just opens up the competition.”

The Canadian MLS teams offered TSN a glimpse into what it’s been like at their clubs during the suspension of play.

In Montreal, Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore said its important for his club to set an example for the Impact fans.

With @MLS on hold, @impactmontreal President & CEO @kgilmore88 updates us on what's happening at the club while they wait for play to resume #IMFC pic.twitter.com/3pz6VHrZzo

— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) March 19, 2020

“We know that we have an influence on people,” he said. “Fans have a passionate and emotional connection with teams and clubs and leagues and players, and if we can use that connection to send a message to stay home and follow the precautions and guidelines of the public health authorities — if we can do that — we will do our best to pass that message along.”

Toronto FC president Bill Manning said although there’s a pause in games and a training moratorium that extends through Friday, it doesn’t mean the players aren’t staying fit and as sharp as possible.

What are @TorontoFC doing to keep their players ready to play during this break? Club President Bill Manning fills us in and provides some updates on Michael Bradley and Pablo Piatti #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/KAxB8g1fB2

— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) March 19, 2020

“We’re trying to stay in steady communication,” Manning said. “We set up home workout programs for all our players, we’re actually looking into having our chef prepare meals that we can deliver to our players. Every day, every other day [we send] an email just making sure they’re aware of what’s going on and anything new that’s coming from the league. And just trying to make sure the guys take every precautionary measure they can, they stay at home and are safe and doing their part to make sure that we don’t spread this.”

In Vancouver, Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said the business of soccer still continues and his “phone’s not stopping” with his vast European connections.

What is happening with @WhitecapsFC during this break? Their leadership team joins @LukeWileman to provide an update #VWFC pic.twitter.com/F0gUL98mvT

— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) March 19, 2020

“You have to be creative,” he said. “Now is not the time to discuss in the wrong way, everybody has to be open to give up on some things and I think that shows now. And that’s a good thing, that football is united all over the world, that anybody is open to help everybody and to find the right solutions to come back to the game at the right time and to give back the joy to the people to be in the stadium, to follow our game.”

Around Town

Austin FC co-owner Matthew McConaughey took to Twitter to offer an inspirational message about dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. And if you stick around until the end, you just might catch a quote from his classic film “Dazed and Confused.”

because every red light eventually turns green pic.twitter.com/x05GuITW4J

— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) March 17, 2020

MLS clubs continue to give back to their affected communities during the league’s hiatus.

The RSL Foundation is donating food originally intended for Real Salt Lake matches, as well as $5,000, for a total of $38,300 to Utah Food Bank

“In this difficult time that everyone is facing, we wanted to take the opportunity to help those in need,” RSL foundation executive director Mary Van Minde said in a statement. “In delivering food that may have gone to waste to the Utah Food Bank, the RSL Foundation aims not only to help people affected by the pandemic, but also create awareness for a giving opportunity right here in our community.”

FC Dallas partnered with Toyota to provide meals, originally intended for upcoming matches at Toyota Stadium, for local volunteers who have been feeding needy middle school students meals since the outbreak.

“We’re proud to work with Legends Hospitality and the food and beverage team at Toyota Stadium to provide these meals to the volunteers who are tirelessly working to ensure that FISD students do not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” FC Dallas foundation manager Brooke Leverette said in a statement.

Pictures and videos of animals help provide a sense of calm during these troubled times. Yesterday, we saw San Jose Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda with his Yorkie.

Well, how about a soccer-playing horse?

Need a football fix? Our equine premier league is kicking off! Today's practice: working on sending it and bending it 😆⚽🥉 @MenInBlazers pic.twitter.com/imaRtwqAEk

— Melissa Merrick (@M_J_Merrick) March 19, 2020

Keeping Busy

What to watch has been a big theme during the break from soccer here and across the world.

With that in mind, some New York Red Bulls players provided their Netflix and chill favorites.

With everyone at home, we asked our guys what they're streaming on @netflix?

What are you watching? // THREAD

— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) March 19, 2020

“The English Game,” a new Netflix series about the birth and growth of the game worldwide from the creator of Downton Abbey, debuts Friday.

Also on Friday, FS1 is showing a replay of the 2019 Women’s World Cup final between the United States and Netherlands at 8 p.m. ET.

No spoilers.

The back-to-back champs come to FS1 on back-to-back nights 🏆🏆

Relive the action and excitement of the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals Thursday and Friday on FS1 ⚽🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/xn3TdZ1u9o

— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) March 19, 2020

The post Life Without Soccer: News and Updates for Friday, March 20 appeared first on Pro Soccer USA.

Original author: Dylan Butler, Pro Soccer USA
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Major League Soccer Extends Training Moratorium

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Amid MLS pause, Rapids starting goalkeeper competition remains in play

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – With the Major League Soccer season at a standstill until at least May 10, Colorado Rapids coach Robin Fraser is making one main ask of his players: be ready.

“We’ve been talking and trying to maintain our fitness and I think, regardless, we will have to do things to maintain fitness,” Fraser explained to reporters via conference call on Thursday. “The first step has just been keeping guys in frame of mind where they need to stay fit.”

Nonetheless, Fraser took time to be thoughtful about the severity and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, with soccer just being one of the many facets of day to day life that the virus has impacted. Fraser has said the league’s suspension “makes perfect sense” and he has been supportive of it.

“Obviously, this whole thing is way bigger than soccer,” he said. “And we understand obviously are taking every precaution possible to be safe and keep our families safe. But at the same time, it’s a difficult time for the world. For us to look at this as something positive for us individually can be extremely short sighted.”

When players do return from the break from play however, Fraser emphasized that every position on the field will be up for grabs, including goalkeeper.

“Every job is up for grabs every week,” Fraser explained. “That type of competition is what ultimately is going to drive you.”

Clint Irwin backstopped Colorado in its two wins to open the season, but the Rapids gave up a second half goal in each fixture, meaning there could be an opening for William Yarbrough, who joined the Rapids on loan earlier this month.

The pair, both 30 years old, competed in goalkeeper drills prior to the league suspension, but nothing seemed to clearly separate the two during open practice sessions.

Conversely, Irwin is no stranger to goalkeeping competitions.

The Rapids’ incumbent starter beat out MLS Cup winner Matt Pickens and Steward Ceus to win the Rapids starting job originally in 2013.  A season later, he survived a goalkeeping carousel with Joe Nasco and John Berner before returning as the regular No. 1. In Toronto, he platooned with Alex Bono before eventually losing the starting job due to injury.

Last season, Irwin returned to Colorado, posting a record of 4-4-2 in 11 appearances (nine starts) in relief of an injured Tim Howard.

“I think right now Clint has been good and solid and offers the maturity, composure and obviously good goalkeeping ability. He has been the number one to this point,” Fraser said. “I do think bringing in Will just opens up the competition.”

Yarbrough brings an arguably more accomplished career resume, having competed with the U.S. National Team and in Liga MX, where he won titles with Leon – the club he is currently on loan from.

“I think my biggest ability is my mental toughness,” Yarbrough said during his first week of training in Colorado. “And my ability to read the game. Being able to read the game and understand what a player can do to score.”

Mental toughness is another quality which Fraser alluded to as important as each ‘keeper battles for the chance to start when play resumes.

“It’s a tough job to be a goalkeeper,” Fraser said.  “You come in and you know that if you get the opportunity and you do really well then you probably have the ability to keep it for a while. They understand that’s how it works. I think there’s no goalkeeper next level that doesn’t understand that.”

The Rapids’ starting goalkeeper could be whoever returns to training the most fit, regardless of when that actually happens. For now, the competition continues, albeit with home workouts.

“I think there’s constant competition everywhere,” said Fraser. “I think that’s real, real necessary factor. For all the years that I’ve played, and I know there’s nothing that gets that little extra bit out of you like competition.”

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Original author: Marco Cummings, Pro Soccer USA
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MLS extends suspension, eyes playing MLS Cup in December

Major League Soccer extended the temporary suspension of its season to May 10, is still committed to playing a full season and is examining the possibility of holding MLS Cup in December. 

The hiatus extension comes after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention outlined new guidelines earlier this week on limiting mass gatherings of more than 50 people to eight weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The original suspension was supposed to last until at least April 11. 

Every game that was supposed to occur before the suspension is expected to be rescheduled. MLS was in its third match week when the decision was made to halt the season. 

“In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches during this period of the time,” the league said in a statement. “MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season.

“The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout the process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.”

Major League Soccer Statement on CDC Recommendation pic.twitter.com/XRXGfUEtz0

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 19, 2020

MLS joins other leagues around the U.S. and around the world who have decided to extend their temporary suspensions of seasons. The USL announced on Wednesday it was extended its suspension of the USL Championship and USL League One through at least May 10

In previous seasons, the MLS Cup was played in December, but it changed last season when the league moved it up to November, ahead of the FIFA window to avoid a break in the playoff schedule. 

That was the plan again this year with the start of the season moved up to the beginning of February as two new expansions clubs, Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF, joined the league. 

COVID-19, the name of the disease, has changed things dramatically for MLS, which is in its 25th season. 

MLS commissioner Don Garber released a letter Sunday urging fans to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and be patient as the league deals with the outbreak. He encouraged fans to continue to support the league during the original 30-day hiatus that was set forth by the league. 

“During this rapidly changing time, we will take every necessary precaution, and I ask you to do the same,” Garber stated in his letter. “This moment in our history transcends sport. It is a time for all of us to come together and take care of each other. Your support has always meant everything to us, but never more so than now.”

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Colorado Rapids coach Robin Fraser: MLS suspension ‘makes perfect sense’

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids started the 2020 MLS campaign hot, earning six points from the opening two matches against D.C. United and Orlando City SC. But like the rest of MLS, their campaign came to a standstill following the league’s decision to suspend play due to COVID-19.

Rapids coach Robin Fraser reacted to the situation midweek, speaking with the Moser, Lombardi and Kane Show on Altitude Radio.

“My first reaction was: What?” Fraser said. “It really took a while for it to sink in. After the NBA suspended their season, I knew it was coming, though. At the end of the day, it makes perfect sense. As disappointed as we are to have the season be suspended, it’s obviously not a question that it had to be done. It was the right decision.”

In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommendations for containment of the COVID-19 virus, MLS has also instituted a training moratorium

“For us and for the league, as you can imagine, every step has been based on what has happened around the country and what CDC is saying,” Fraser explained. “The league is updating us. The players are sitting and waiting, but our sports science department is working with them on their individual programs and things they can and have to do on their own to stay as ready as possible.”

Fraser also explained all players are in-market until further notice. Colorado has seven international players on its roster.

“It’s such a difficult and strange time,” Fraser said. “For the time being it’s stay here, do what you can to stay fit and wait to see what comes next for us.”

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Original author: Marco Cummings, Pro Soccer USA
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Major League Soccer Statement on CDC Recommendation

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CDC issues guidance on mass gatherings that could shut down MLS, NWSL and USL for 2 months

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new guideline Sunday suggesting mass gatherings of more than 50 people be restricted for an eight-week period, which would likely extend the suspension of all sports leagues.

The goal of the mandate is to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by limiting the amount of large events that could spur mass transmission. Restricting these types of events can also reduce the introduction of the coronavirus into new communities.

The CDC listed sporting events as a form of mass gatherings that should avoided and suggested the cancellation or postponement of any event consisting of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. While the guideline is not a government mandate, MLS, NWSL and USL have all followed previous CDC guidelines closely, including suggestions to self-quarantine players who have traveled from outside of the country.

MLS originally suspended all matches for 30 days and paused training through Friday this week.

The NWSL canceled all preseason matches and restricted training through March 22.

Both leagues issued statements the past week expressing their willingness to adhere to the suggestions of the CDC and other government health officials.

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MLS commissioner Don Garber urges fans to ‘take every necessary precaution’ in letter

MLS commissioner Don Garber released a letter Sunday urging fans to practice patience and caution amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The commissioner encouraged fans to continue their support of the league throughout its 30-day hiatus.

“During this rapidly changing time, we will take every necessary precaution, and I ask you to do the same,” Garber said. “This moment in our history transcends sport. It is a time for all of us to come together and take care of each other. Your support has always meant everything to us, but never more so than now.”

Garber said the league is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Public Health Agency of Canada, along with local public health authorities, to create a plan for the coming weeks. Every game set to take place during the suspension period is expected to be rescheduled, and Garber said all previously purchased tickets for those games will be honored on the new dates.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a similar letter to fans last week, promising the NBA would eventually resume play. The league was the first to shut down after a player tested positive for the coronavirus. To date, three NBA players have tested positive.  

Garber’s letter came three days after MLS shut down play to help slow the spread of coronavirus. MLS issued a 30-day suspension of all games on Thursday, a massive step for a league that still heavily depends on game-day revenue to support clubs. The league went on to suspend all training through the weekend to protect the health of players and staff.

Read Garber’s full letter:

A letter from @thesoccerdon regarding COVID-19

➡ https://t.co/u9CDWhXwvB pic.twitter.com/Rzf91LGCUs

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 15, 2020

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Major League Soccer Extends Training Moratorium

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MLS mandates training moratorium until Monday for all teams

MLS is implementing a training moratorium for all teams until Monday as it determines how to best avoid the spread of the coronavirus at its facilities.

A league source confirmed MLS is reviewing protocols to ensure safe training environments for both players and staff. During the break, players can still use team facilities for individual workouts. The league will determine on Monday whether teams can resume formal practices and who will ensure those group training sessions protect the health of the teams.

MLS announced Thursday morning it is suspending the season for the next 30 days. The decision was made as U.S. government and health officials worked to limit large-scale gatherings and diminish the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The league stated it would continue to work with its medical task force to evaluate how to move forward while preserving the safety of players, staff and fans. 

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MLS clubs issue statements, updates on league’s 30-day coronavirus suspension

With Major League Soccer suspending the 2020 regular season for 30 days because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the league’s 26 clubs have had to adjust their schedules, training plans and ticketing procedures.

The following are updates and statements each team issued in response to the 30-day stoppage.

This list will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Atlanta United

With Concacaf suspending Champions League play, Atlanta’s March 18 second-leg match against Club America will be rescheduled.

Three Atlanta MLS matches will be postponed: March 14 vs. Sporting Kansas City; March 21 at Chicago Fire; and April 5 at FC Cincinnati. 

“At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.”

Chicago Fire FC

The Chicago Fire’s homecoming match at Soldier Field March 21 falls within the stoppage window. All tickets already purchased for the game will be honored for the rescheduled date. The Fire will work with ticket holders on appropriate credits or refunds for this and any other games that may be affected and an email will be sent to all season ticket holders from their Account Representative.

The Fire’s March 14 road trip to Orlando and April 4 home game against the Red Bulls also fall within the 30-day suspension.

“We all share in the health and well-being of our community,” Fire President Nelson Rodríguez said. “We will continue regular dialogue with all city, state, national and league authorities on issues relating to COVID-19 and will provide fans and partners updates accordingly.”

FC Cincinnati

More information, including ticket policies, about FC Cincinnati’s affected matches — home games March 14, March 21 and April 5 against D.C. United, Toronto and Atlanta, respectively — will be announced in the very near future. 

In addition to MLS games, FC Cincinnati Academy operations — including training and games — will be altered based on guidance provided from U.S. Soccer and MLS. FC Cincinnati Foundation “Served by the Pros” charitable event on March 22 will be rescheduled.

All scheduled player appearances will be cancelled. The club’s MLS WORKS Greener Goals service projects April 8 and April 14 will be rescheduled, and the FC Cincinnati Downtown Shop’s hours of operations will be adjusted.

The club directed all fans to the Ohio Department of Health for more information about COVID-19, and will provide team updates on social media @FCCincinnati and fccincinnati.com.

“We need to thank our fans and our partners for their patience and continued support while this situation has evolved. We built our club on core values that center on supporting our community and families, and we believe this is absolutely the correct public health approach to help prevent the dangerous transmission of COVID-19 through community spread,” FCC president Jeff Berding said in a statement. “As we noted yesterday, we support Ohio Governor DeWine and his strong stance on limiting mass gatherings. We strongly support the league’s stance to temporarily halt the season as a precaution, and have been working for several days to get to, and prepare for, this outcome. This is an unprecedented situation, and we look forward to further guidance from MLS, public health officials and government officials as we plot the near future.

“We want the opportunity to have a full final season at Nippert Stadium where the exciting experience and vibrant atmosphere of our supporters have created a lasting image over the last four years. But before that happens, the health and safety of our entire community – including our fans, staff and players – are of the utmost importance.”

Colorado Rapids

“At this time, no games have been canceled, and the league is evaluating how best to approach the remainder of the season. Once we are given direction by the league, we will proactively communicate with ticket holders their options. if a game is permanently canceled, you will be presented a range of refund, credit or other options.”

The Rapids matches during the 30-day suspension include March 14 at Vancouver; March 21 vs. Houston; April 4 at New England; and April 11 at Real Salt Lake. 

Columbus Crew SC

Columbus Crew SC’s March 14 home match against Real Salt Lake is postponed, along with a March 21 road trip to Nashville and an April 4 home game against Toronto. The club will issue updates, including ticketing information at a later date.

“We appreciate the work of health and government officials in the context of these unprecedented circumstances. We want to thank all supporters for their understanding. Updated ticket information will be announced in the near future.”

FC Dallas

Club president Dan Hunt issued the following statement: “The health and safety of our fans, staff, players and partners is our top priority. We completely support MLS’ decision to postpone match play for 30 days. We will maintain ongoing contact with medical experts, local, state and federal health authorities as well as the league. The club will continue to provide up-to-date information, including details about future matches, as it becomes available.”

The following FCD matches fall within the 30-day window: March 14 at NYCFC; March 21 at Seattle; and April 4 vs. LAFC.

D.C. United

D.C. United’s April 3 home match against New York City FC falls within the 30-day suspension window and will be rescheduled. The club will provide updates on the new date as it becomes available. Road trips March 14 and 22 to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, respectively, are also postponed. 

“We will be fully compliant and supportive of plans to postpone upcoming games,” the club said. “The safety of our supporters, players and staff is our No. 1 priority and we feel that these measures are the appropriate response and course of action to support health authorities’ ongoing efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spreading.”

Houston Dynamo

“Part of our commitment to ‘Hold it Down’ for Houston is doing what’s right for our community, and what’s right in this case is to err on the side of safety,” the club’s statement said.

The Dynamo’s postponed matches are March 14 vs. Seattle Sounders FC; March 21 at Colorado Rapids; April 4 vs. Portland Timbers. Tickets for all matches impacted will remain valid for the eventual rescheduled dates. Those dates have not been announced at this time.

The Dynamo advises fans who purchased tickets to these matches through any outlet other than HoustonDynamo.com, BBVAStadium.com or AXS.com, to contact the customer service line where they purchased their tickets.

Inter Miami CF

Inter Miami CF’s home opener against LA Galaxy on Saturday was postponed because of the league’s decision to suspend the season.

“We’ve been in very close communication with commissioner [Don] Garber,” Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas told reporters on Thursday.

The club said in a statement it will communicate rescheduled dates with ticket holders and “at the appropriate time, Inter Miami and Major League Soccer will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league and club events.”

In addition to the home opener, Inter Miami’s home games March 21 and April 5 against the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union, respectively, will be postponed. 

LA Galaxy

The Galaxy said as they receive more information, it will be communicated with their season ticket members and supporters in a timely fashion.

“All Galaxy tickets will be honored should the matches be played on a postponed date. Additionally, in conjunction with the state of California and the California Department of Public Health, all LA Galaxy II, LA Galaxy Academy and Dignity Health Sports Park public events and activities have been postponed.”

The three Galaxy matches postponed are March 14 at Inter Miami; March 22 vs. Orlando City and April 4 vs. Sporting KC. 

Los Angeles FC

With Concacaf suspending the Champions League, LAFC’s March 12 home game and March 18 road game against Cruz Azul will be rescheduled for future dates. Two MLS matches also will be postponed, March 22 vs. Portland and April 4 at FC Dallas. 

“Tickets for the quarterfinal match will be honored when the tournament resumes,” the club said in a statement. “Tickets for the March 22 match vs. Portland (and any other MLS matches affected) will be honored for when the game is rescheduled. For further questions contact LAFC at .”

Minnesota United

“With the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, Minnesota United fully supports the decision by Major League Soccer to suspend the 2020 season for 30 days,” the club’s statement read. “We as a club believe the health and safety of our community, our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance. We will continue to work with MLS and the Minnesota Department of Health on next steps. We look forward to welcoming our community and all fans and stakeholders back to Allianz Field in 2020.”

The Loons happened to have three home matches scheduled in the next 30 days: March 15 vs. New York Red Bulls; March 21 vs. Montreal Impact; April 4 vs. San Jose.

All tickets — whether season, group, premium or individual — that have already been purchased for Sunday’s home opener and subsequent postponed home games will be honored when the games have been rescheduled. Questions about season tickets should be directed to your ticket representative.

Montreal Impact

The March 17 second leg of the Montreal Impact’s CCL quarterfinal against Olimpia is postponed. The club’s MLS matches March 21 at Minnesota United and April 4 at Orlando City SC also fall within the 30-day window. 

The Impact had no home games scheduled during the suspension. The home opener is scheduled for April 18 at 1 p.m. ET.

“The Montreal Impact continues to monitor this unprecedented situation very closely and supports the measures taken to protect the health of its supporters, players, staff and partners,” the club statement read. “The MLS and the Montreal Impact will communicate the next developments as soon as possible.”

Nashville SC

Nashville SC will have to postpone matches March 14 at Toronto FC; March 21 vs. Columbus Crew SC; and April 3 vs. Seattle Sounders FC.

“We are working to keep you as up-to-date as possible with the latest news,” the expansion side said in a statement. “Tickets for all upcoming rescheduled matches will be honored when the match is rescheduled. You do not need to take any action. Further updates will be provided as more information is available. For additional ticketing questions, contact Nashville SC at .”

New England Revolution

The New England Revolution’s goal is to reschedule affected games for future dates to be determined. The suspension impacts the Revolution’s home games scheduled for March 15 vs. Portland; April 4 vs. Colorado; and April 8 vs. Seattle. A March 21 road game against Real Salt Lake is also in the suspension window.

“All tickets purchased for the club’s home games during this period will remain valid for the rescheduled dates. Season Members can contact their customer service representative with any questions,” the Revs’ statement read. “The New England Revolution remain in continuous communication with local, state, and federal agencies for real-time intelligence, best practices, and response protocols related to the COVID-19. The league and club will communicate updates and plans for the continuation of the 2020 season at the appropriate time.”

New York City FC

NYCFC CEO Brad Sims released a statement, saying the club will ensure season tickets, group and individual tickets already purchased for Saturday’s home opener and other postponed matches will be honored once rescheduled. Updates will be provided on NYCFC.com and the team’s social media channels. 

“If a decision is made to cancel any games — or to play behind-closed-doors — NYCFC will work closely with fans to provide refunds and/or credits for future games,” he said. “Together, we will be diligent, using this break to evaluate and respond to the rapidly changing situation. We remain committed to the health practices outlined by the CDC and encourage all NYCFC fans and New Yorkers to do the same. We would like to thank NYCFC fans for their understanding and support during this challenging time.”

NYCFC will have four games total postponed, including three MLS matches — March 14 vs. FC Dallas; March 21 vs. Vancouver; and April 3 at D.C. United — and one CCL match — March 17 at Tigres UANL.

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls’ have four MLS matches within the suspension window: March 15 at Minnesota United; March 21 at Inter Miami; March 28 vs. Orlando City; and April 4 at Chicago Fire. 

The Red Bulls also created a FAQ page for all COVID-19 information relating to the club.

“The Red Bulls have been continuously monitoring developments surrounding Covid-19 in the New York/New Jersey metro area and have worked closely with MLS, USL and local authorities to maintain up-to-date plans and protocols consistent with recommendations from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … As an organization we will continue to take precautions for the well-being of players and staff during the suspension and urge all of our supporters and the general public to do the same. The Red Bulls remain in close contact with MLS’ and USL’s task forces and local officials and will communicate further updates as information becomes available.”

Orlando City SC

Orlando City games March 14 vs. Chicago Fire FC; March 22 at LA Galaxy; March 28 at New York Red Bulls; and April 4 vs. Montreal Impact have been postponed.

Access to Exploria Stadium and the Orlando City SC training ground will be limited to essential employees only for the next 30 days. MLS is currently planning to reschedule all matches impacted by this suspension, and previously purchased tickets will remain valid for those games. Additional ticketing questions can be directed to .

“Our top priority as a Club is the health and safety of everyone from our players, employees and fans. We are clearly dealing with an unprecedented health crisis and remain committed to keeping everyone within our Club and community safe,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “We will continue to work with local, state and national health officials along with the CDC in monitoring the situation.”

The statement also said the club will remain in contact with NWSL and USL stakeholders regarding their upcoming seasons and will remain “committed to assisting the local community and its members that are currently suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak as well as educating the community on proper safety protocols.”

Philadelphia Union

“The Philadelphia Union is in full support of Major League Soccer’s decision to suspend match play for 30 days as the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 is assessed. The safety and well-being of our players, coaches, staff, and fans is of utmost importance.

“The league and its clubs are continuing to monitor the situation and will communicate information as it is made available. Fans can contact Philadelphia Union Fan Services with questions at 

The Union will postpone the following matches: March 14 vs. San Jose; March 22 vs. D.C. United; March 28 at Portland Timbers; and April 5 at Inter Miami.

Portland Timbers

Four MLS matches will be postponed for the Timbers, including three road trips and one home game: March 15 at New England; March 22 at LAFC; March 28 vs. Philadelphia Union; and April 4 at Houston Dynamo.

The Portland Timbers said they have worked with local health authorities to help keep fans, staff, players and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19.

“In accordance with the March 12 mandate by the State of Oregon to cancel public gatherings of more than 250 people, the Timbers have canceled the Portland Thorns FC preseason tournament, scheduled to take place from March 29-April 4,” the club statement read. “The status of future matches for both clubs will be determined at a later date in conjunction with Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, public health authorities and government agencies.

“Tickets purchased for postponed events are good for the new date of the match. With regard to canceled games, the Timbers and Thorns FC will reach out to fans with next steps.”

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake’s chief business officer Andy Carroll issued a statement saying, “The MLS suspension was followed shortly thereafter by the USL.  As the NWSL season start is planned for April 18, no decisions regarding that schedule have been made as I write this note. At present, no games in any of the leagues have been canceled. If the duration of the suspension is fairly short, we are optimistic that we can reschedule any games. We are diligently working and coordinating with all of our leagues to get information out to our staff, fans and partners as soon as possible.”

The MLS matches postponed are: March 14 at Columbus; March 21 vs. New England; March 28 at Sporting KC; and April 4 at Vancouver. 

RSL directed fans with additional questions to its ticketing department at 844-REAL-TIX or email .

San Jose Earthquakes

“The Earthquakes organization fully supports Major League Soccer’s decision to suspend the season,” the club’s statement read. “The health and well-being of our fans, players and staff remains our top priority. We appreciate the support and patience of all of our fans and partners during this difficult time.”

The San Jose Earthquakes’ matches March 14 at the Philadelphia Union, March 21 vs. Sporting Kansas City and April 4 at Minnesota United are postponed.

The club also announced a number of cancellations and postponements for other events at Earthquakes Stadium, including the April 14 friendly between the U.S. women’s national team and Brazil. The March 28 friendly between Liga MX’s Club Leon and Chivas de Guadalajara was also rescheduled to Oct. 10.

The Bacon and Cheese Classic was also postponed, with a new date to be determined, and the Hearts and Soles Run March 28 will go forward as a virtual run where participants receive a shirt, bib and medal but complete the run on their own at a time and place of their choosing.

Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle Sounders FC is not traveling Thursday to Houston for its originally-scheduled March 14 match against the Dynamo. The Sounders’ home game March 21 against FC Dallas and April 3 road trip to Nashville are postponed as well.

Operations also halted at Starfire Sports, the complex that houses the Sounders’ offices and training facility. That includes MLS training and any USL or Academy activities. The Sounders will issue further information when it becomes available.

The club urges fans to call 877-657-4625 or email  with questions. Some FAQ related to the virus are answered on the team’s website as well. 

Seattle has been the epicenter of the United States’ virus outbreak.

“With each day bringing new developments related to COVID-19, the uncertainty locally and worldwide is understandably difficult,” the Sounders’ statement read. “As an organization, nothing is more important than public safety and the wellbeing of our fans, and our hearts go out to all families who have been directly affected.

“We are working to keep our fans as up to date as possible with the latest news.”

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City reiterated the league’s statement on its website, and set up a COVID-19 FAQ page for fans. 

“As the developments surrounding COVID-19 evolve, Sporting Kansas City is working diligently with national and regional health authorities and government officials to help combat this public health crisis,” a club statement reads. “Sporting Kansas City will remain flexible with all parties involved as the situation unfolds. We will continue to follow the guidelines set by public health authorities and government agencies and respect the difficult decisions they must make during this time. We will continue our active dialogue with local leaders, public health officials and Major League Soccer and will provide additional public updates as more information becomes available.”

The following four SKC matches are impacted by the 30-day suspension: March 14 at Atlanta United; March 21 at San Jose Earthquakes; March 28 vs. Real Salt Lake; and April 4 at the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Toronto FC

Toronto’s March 14 home match against Nashville SC has been postponed, followed by two road games March 21 at FC Cincinnati and April 4 at Columbus Crew SC.

Toronto FC will determine its training plan over the weekend.

“The safety of our players, staff and fans is our primary concern,” Toronto FC president Bill Manning said in a statement. “We completely support the league’s decision.”

Vancouver Whitecaps

Like the rest of the teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps issued a statement in support of the league’s decision to suspend the season.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of health authorities and MLS to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to protect our community,” the statement said.

The Whitecaps’ postponed matches are March 14 vs. Colorado Rapids; March 21 at New York City FC; and April 4 vs. Real Salt Lake. Supporters who purchased tickets for home games will be granted admission at the rescheduled match once new dates are confirmed.

The club also created a FAQ page with resources about COVID-19; links to Health Canada, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization; the league’s 30-day suspension and club-specific concerns. 

The post MLS clubs issue statements, updates on league’s 30-day coronavirus suspension appeared first on Pro Soccer USA.

Original author: Julian Cardillo, Pro Soccer USA
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Coronavirus: MLS season suspended for 30 days

Major League Soccer has announced the 2020 season will be suspended for 30 days as it continues to assess the impact of coronavirus. MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed all 26 clubs were “united” to halt fixtures with immediate effect due to the outbreak, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The decision […]

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Major League Soccer suspends season 30 days amid coronavirus pandemic

Major League Soccer took the unprecedented step of suspending its 2020 season for 30 days amid further spreading of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement released Thursday morning. “We’d like to thank fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

The decision, first reported by Sports Illustrated, came as United States officials are trying to limit large-scale gatherings throughout the country in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. The league and its medical task force will continue to evaluate the impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the globally spreading SARS-CoV-2 virus.

MLS also canceled the Generation adidas Cup, a prestigious youth competition, scheduled to run from April 4-11 in Frisco, Texas. There were 40 academies from 11 countries set to compete.

The NBA suspended the remainder of its regular season Wednesday night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. The NHL announced an indefinite pause of its season Thursday. The NCAA announced Wednesday the men and women’s basketball tournaments would be played without fans in attendance before canceling the tournament completely Thursday.

The MLS suspension came on the heels of the league closing locker rooms to media

MLS is following other soccer leagues around the world, including Serie A in Italy being suspended until at least April 3. There are reports the UEFA Champions League may be suspended and the European championships being moved until 2021. 

Some leagues have decided to play behind closed doors. La Liga will play without fans until at least March 22, while France’s top two leagues will keep its doors shut until April 15. Portugal’s top two tiers will also play games without fans in attendance this weekend.

 

The post Major League Soccer suspends season 30 days amid coronavirus pandemic appeared first on Pro Soccer USA.

Original author: Dylan Butler, Pro Soccer USA
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Younes Namli looking to carve his own Colorado Rapids legacy

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – When Younes Namli scored the opening goal in the Colorado Rapids2-1 win over Orlando City SC Saturday, he made history. Scoring after just two appearances, it marked the fastest a Rapids’ Designated Player has gotten on the scoresheet after their Colorado debut.

Colorado’s track record with Designated Players could be graded best as a “mixed bag” with names like Tim Howard, Kevin Doyle, Shkëlzen Gashi, Juan Ramirez and Gabriel Torres having graced the annals of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Transitioning to MLS and the altitude of Colorado was always going to be a challenge, but for Namli and the Rapids, it was important their newest big name signing find success and find it early.

“I think anytime you’re a new player on a team, there’s expectations and within the community there’s expectations even around the league,” Rapids coach Robin Fraser said. “I think if you score in your second game in the league and then score in that fashion, I think you take some of that pressure off and you just get to be you.”

Namli did just that, dribbling through Orlando defenders as if it were a cone drill at training before finding the silky finish. It was a play that showed the Danish-Moroccan midfielder’s best qualities – creativity, vision and drive.

He learned those qualities growing up while watching some of his favorite players in YouTube videos and Nike’s famed “Joga Bonito” ad campaign – videos which featured famed Brazilian Ronaldinho and his national team compatriots showing off their skills.

“He was an amazing player,” said Namli. “I mean, and the fact that he always played with a smile was just amazing to watch.”

Namli has brought similar attributes to Colorado, both on and off the pitch. Aside from his goalscoring and creativity, the attacker has brought a healthy mix of professionalism and lightheartedness to the locker room. Despite being the new guy, Namli hasn’t backed down from the banter of other locker room characters like Jack Price or Kellyn Acosta.

“Who is that? Obama?” he quipped to a suit-clad Acosta trying to disrupt a media scrum surrounding him.

“En Espagnol,” he ribs to the Spanish-speaking American goalkeeper William Yarbrough while he conducts his own interview.

“He’s got a really like fun personality,” Fraser said with a grin. “And when it comes to soccer, he wants to win. He’s a very determined player. And really, he very much fits into our locker room. He’s a guy who will do whatever the team asked him to do. He works extremely hard. He’s very, very serious when it comes to winning games.”

The son of Moroccan immigrants, Namli also learned the value of hard work.

“My parents provided everything for my siblings and I,” said Namli. “I am where I am today because of them.”

With Colorado in the midst of a build towards a return to the postseason following a three-year hiatus, Namli knows his role in the project and is fully on board with achieving its goal.

“The style of play and the club’s ambition was the most important thing in making my decision [to sign],” he explained. “There’s a challenge here to compete in MLS. It was a perfect fit for me.”

History will determine whether Namli is graded in better terms than his Designated Player predecessors. Nonetheless, he’s already well on the path toward carving out a legacy for himself and his team.

“I came to compete and we have a good a good group of guys, a good squad,” Namli said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to achieve something.”

The post Younes Namli looking to carve his own Colorado Rapids legacy appeared first on Pro Soccer USA.

Original author: Marco Cummings, Pro Soccer USA
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