Major League Soccer officially has a start date.
The league announced Monday that the 2021 season will begin April 3, with a six-week preseason able to start Feb. 22. The league plans to play its entire 34-week schedule.
The MLS playoffs are scheduled to begin Nov. 19, with the MLS Cup on Dec. 11. Other events in between — the All-Star game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup — are slated for “late summer.”
The news comes amid an ongoing negotiation between the league and the MLS Players Association to amend the collective bargaining agreement that was ratified last summer. The two sides publicly voiced frustration with the process nearly two weeks ago.
The league said in a news release that no agreement has been reached, but “MLS is committed to meet as many times as necessary with the MLSPA in the coming days to finalize an agreement.”
Players reporting to preseason will undergo a mandatory quarantine and train individually before. The league said in a news release that COVID-19 protocols will continue to play a major role in how it operates.
“MLS continues to work closely with the league and MLSPA’s infectious disease advisors on health and safety protocols, including testing,” the league said. “During the regular season, all players, technical staff and essential club staff will continue to be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. In addition, clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips until further notice.”
The full season schedule will be released in the coming weeks, the league said.