The soccer calendar came almost to a screeching halt during the weekend, the first few days of life with suspended American sports seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans, players and teams are adapting to what will be a new normal for at least eight weeks — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended timeline to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more. Social distancing is the key phrase these days, and that may be tough to handle for some.
So, every day MLS, NWSL and USL are suspended, 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.
In North America, MLS extended its training moratorium until Friday, while the NWSL will not have players training until Sunday. Additionally, a member of the Seattle Sounders’ staff tested positive for COVID-19, but no other positive cases at the club have been found.
Internationally, players in Italy and Spain tested positive for COVID-19, and Chelsea’s Mason Mount was spotted breaking self-isolation after a teammate tested positive. Play continues in several countries, such as Brazil, where Grêmio players protested that decision Sunday by walking onto the field wearing masks.
Over the weekend, teams had to get creative as scheduled matches were postponed. The New England Revolution and Portland Timbers decided to do a FIFA 20 simulation of their match scheduled for Sunday. The game ended 4-4, with the Revolution scoring twice in stoppage time.
We put together a highlight package for you ⚽️🎮
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) March 15, 2020
In Europe, Manchester City and Southampton replaced their match with a game of tic-tac-toe, which ended in a stalemate — and Southampton requesting a point from the Premier League as a result.
It's all over!
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) March 14, 2020
OL Reign’s Allie Long picked an indoor activity, playing video games and streaming them on her new Twitch account, which she created after NWSL’s broadcasting deal with the streamer was announced last week.
As for supporters, Pro Soccer USA’s Dylan Butler spoke to New York City FC and New York Red Bulls supporters about their weekend plans and showed off their varying interests. One took the opportunity to tidy up his home, while another decided to stage his own St. Patrick’s Day parade.
There are a number of activities we can all do while observing social distancing, even while at home working.
For soccer-specific ideas, the lone match on U.S. television Monday is in Turkey, where Antalyaspor will face Sivasspor at 1 p.m. ET; BeIN Sports is broadcasting the match. Additionally, FS1 has five hours of soccer programming scheduled starting 1 p.m. ET, with a re-air of The Beckham Effect followed by both legs of Los Angeles FC’s Concacaf Champions League tie against Club León.
📺 PROGRAMMING NOTE 📺
For your viewing pleasure on FS1 today:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 16, 2020
Starting today, the Chicago Red Stars will have daily schedules of content that provides activities from coloring to story time with head coach Rory Dames and his children.
— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) March 16, 2020
Some players are taking advantage of the time off to heal from injuries, such as D.C. United’s Paul Arriola, who sent a friendly GIF in response to a fan’s revelation.
— Paul Arriola (@PaulArriola) March 13, 2020
Outside of soccer, an exercise video of your choice is never far away on YouTube, and a walk around the neighborhood has also been recommended by top medical officials as a way to combat cabin fever.
Conquering your Netflix list is always a good suggestion, but if you are looking for something new, here is a list of the streaming service’s releases this month. There’s other sports besides the major leagues to watch on ESPN, too, just ask Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore.
And, if you want to keep practicing your hygiene habits, you can always join the World Health Organization’s #SafeHands Challenge on social media. FIFA president Gianni Infantino posted a video of his own handwashing and then challenged Alex Morgan, Kaka, Didier Drogba, Alex Scott and singer Niall Horan.
Gianni Infantino joins @DrTedros in @WHO #SafeHands Challenge. Practical actions protect & promote the health of all people. We must act now. Be prepared & ready to kick out #COVID19. Gianni challenges @alexmorgan13 @alexscott @didierdrogba @Kaka @NiallOfficial & YOU to join in. pic.twitter.com/6zSnaVVXDD
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) March 14, 2020