WASHINGTON, May 28 (Xinhua) -- With local COVID-19 restrictions lifting, MLS team D.C. United will begin voluntary individual workouts, the club announced on Thursday.
MLS cleared teams to begin individual workouts more than three weeks ago, but because stay-at-home orders have remained in effect in the hard-hit D.C. area, United players were forbidden from using team facilities. They stayed fit by exercising at home and in their neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, however, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam cleared the way for Northern Virginia to enter phase one of the state's reopening process, meaning United will be able to train at Segra Field, the home venue for the organization's second-division team Loudoun United, in Northern Virginia's Leesburg.
On Thursday, MLS announced that clubs may begin to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary small group training sessions, and United spokesman Zachary Abaie said the team is hopeful of expanding to small groups as early as next week.
The Chicago Fire and San Jose Earthquakes are the only others in the 26-team league to not have started individual workouts.
The league is aiming to return to competition in July with a tournament in Orlando. Under the proposal, all teams would stay several weeks in a tightly controlled environment and play all the games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
Talks between the league and MLS Players Association are ongoing.
The MLS was just two weeks into the season when play was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.