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LAFC return to individual training Thursday during coronavirus shutdown

One small, if significant, step for the return of sports.

Courtesy of MLS

Los Angeles Football Club became the first team in the state of California and one of only a handful in the United States to return to training, as the MLS club began voluntary individual training sessions at the LAFC Performance Center in Los Angeles Thursday.

MLS allowed teams to begin individual non-contact training on outdoor fields, with enhanced screening and hygiene measures being taken and with the express permission of local health authorities, beginning Wednesday. Only four teams participated in the first day — Sporting Kansas City, Atlanta United, Orlando City SC and Inter Miami — while LAFC joined four other teams on Thursday in jumping into the fray — Portland Timbers, Houston Dynamo, Nashville SC and Real Salt Lake.

From the materials released by MLS, 12 players were photographed participating.

I think many had expected California teams may have to wait some time to begin any kind of training, because stay at home orders have been strict. But with the state planning to begin initial reopening steps Friday and some locales, like Orange County, chafing against the regulations to hold back further outbreaks of coronavirus, LAFC seemed to benefit from good timing (and California being rather successful to date in warding off a surge) in getting local approval to begin training.

Since players can only train individually and are not supposed to do things like pass the ball to each other, training at this point is pretty limited. And it’s worth including the caveat that the reopening could lead to surges of coronavirus infections and so sports may or may not be able to come back in some capacity in the coming months.

Courtesy of MLS

Still, giving the players an opportunity to do some ballwork on the field and stretch their legs at the office is a good start. And for the rest of us, it offers some hope sports could come back in the near future under hopefully safe circumstances.

This is just the beginning of the process but hopefully this is the start of sports returning to our lives under safe circumstances.

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