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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: What if Soccer is Back?

We take a look at the factors involved in MLS restarting, and what it means for the players, clubs, and supporters.

SOCCER: FEB 29 MLS - Orlando City SC v Real Salt Lake

It’s “What If” week here at SBNation, and this article is sort of like that. Soccer is restarting across the world, including Major League Soccer and Orlando City, but what does that end up looking like? There are plans under consideration for how to get things back to normal. Let’s look at the possibilities.

The Good

This is easy. Soccer is coming back! Our long, dark, tea time of the soul is nearly done, and the game we love will be back on our television screens before we know it. Of course, it’s not just the supporters who are excited. The players and coaches have surely been wanting to get back to work. They have been cooped up just like we have, and as professional athletes and coaches, they want to practice their craft. The organization is going to be happy to get things going again since it’s hard to generate any revenue when the club isn’t playing. The same goes for the league itself, broadcasters, sponsors, and those who cover the sport. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a lot to be happy about.

The Bad

This is where the “What If” portion starts. Let’s say that the current MLS plan for restarting goes forward. Stage 1 begins on June 1, with individual workouts in Orlando. The Lions are already doing workouts. One week later, Stage 2 starts on June 8 with small group training. Stage 3 is full training and starts on June 15. Finally, matches would start on June 22. That all sounds great, assuming you don’t pay attention to how quickly the plan moves from stage to stage. Even assuming the league were able to pull it off, how good would the on-field product be? My guess, not up to the usual standards. How many players would get injured? Most likely, too many. Add in that the league hasn’t decided in whether the matches will count or not toward the regular season standings and there’s more questions than answers. One final thought. You won’t be able to attend these matches in person. It’s the right way to do it, but it’s still not quite the same, is it?

The Ugly

I’ve saved this for last. The league starts back up, they figure out all the logistics, and play resumes. The current plan has the players sequestered at Disney resorts near ESPN Wide World of Sports. The idea being that they would all be able to social distance and be tested consistently. But what about the club’s support staff? What about the hotel and facilities staff? What happens if one of them gets sick? If that closed system isn’t completely secure, it could go very bad for the entire league. If that happened, how long before MLS would be able to start everything back up? This is obviously a worst case scenario, but it is one that needs to be taken into account.

I know that this might be a little bit of a downer, but I prefer to think it’s merely a realistic look at the “What If’s” associated with the league starting back up. That being said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the proposed plans in the comments below. Go City (soon)!