Major League Soccer announces start date for 2021 season

Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain dribbles the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game against the New England Revolution, Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Major League Soccer announced Monday that the 2021 season will begin Saturday, April 3.

MLS said the season will consist of 34 regular season matches for each of the league’s 27 clubs, including 2020 MLS Cup winner the Columbus Crew SC.

A full schedule for the season will be released in the coming weeks, MLS said in a press release announcing the season.

The league’s 26th regular season will conclude with MLS Decision Day on Nov. 7 and the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs beginning Nov. 19, with the title game being played on Dec. 11.

Clubs will be able to begin preseason training beginning Feb. 22.

COVID-19 protocols will remain for the teams, with players being required to quarantine and conduct individual trainings when they return back to their clubs.

The season is scheduled to see the debut of two new stadiums in Columbus and Cincinnati and mark the debut of MLS’ 27th team, Austin FC.

Similar to the 2020 MLS season, COVID-19 testing protocols will play a role in MLS’ competition framework. In the release, MLS said the league continues to work closely with the league and infectious disease advisors on safety protocols, including testing.

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 matchday.  In addition, clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips until further notice.

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