As a result of the Ontario provincial government enacting an emergency order, Toronto FC players can begin voluntary individual workouts on Monday.
In a recent interview with TSN, Toronto FC captain talked about the eerie experience of being one of the only people at BMO Training Ground during his rehab. This will now no longer be the case, at least in a manner of speaking.
As per the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, TFC will start individual player workouts on Monday at their North Toronto training facility. The workouts will take place on a voluntary basis.
The latest developments came about after an announcement by the Ontario provincial government on Friday. As reported at the time by TSN‘s Ian Mendes, the government enacted an emergency order allowing athletes from professional sports teams in Ontario to begin training at their club facilities.
Toronto FC’s communications department reiterated that the safety of the players, staff and community is their first priority during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the club will ensure they adhere to safety protocols and social distancing measures, with the media not allowed any access to the training facility.
As you can imagine, there will be a lot of strict guidelines to consider. As per Sportsnet, the field can be divided into a maximum of four quadrants, with only one player allowed in each quadrant.
The MLS guidelines go on to say players and staff will have to wear personal protective equipment at all times at the training facility. In addition, they will be no sharing of equipment or training, e.g. passing or shooting, between players.
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Understandably, there will be some who wonder if it’s even worth returning to training in such a limited capacity. However, it still represents a vital step in the gradual progression towards eventually having the 2020 MLS season resuming.
In addition, a lot of players will welcome the opportunity to return to training in a more formal setting, after being on lockdown since March. In this respect, having to arrive and leave BMO Training Ground at staggered times with designated parking spaces, will seem like a minor inconvenience.
Overall, this is encouraging news, but patience will still be at a premium for TFC and MLS in general. As reported by the National Post, Montreal’s regional department of health has elected to not follow Ontario’s lead, despite a request from the Impact.
While the Impact were surprised by the decision, you can’t blame the department of public health for being cautious, especially when considering a report from Maryam Shah of Global News. The province of Quebec has the most cases and deaths of COVID-19 in Canada, with 60 percent of the country’s reported new cases as recently as Friday.
Does the return of players for voluntary individual workouts provide you with any cause for optimism? Or are you of the opinion there is still some way to go, until Toronto FC starts playing games again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.