Major League Soccer will be back on the field next month, announcing yesterday that a World Cup-style tournament featuring all 26 clubs will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
“The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play,” said MLS Commmissioner Don Garber, confirming the July 8 event.
“We also recognize that the death of George Floyd and others has focused our country on issues of racial injustice, inequality and violence against black men and women. Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long.”
The MLS is Back Tournament draw will take place at 3:30 pm ET on Thursday, June 11 and it will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, as well as MLS Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Former MLS and US national team star Charlie Davies and Susannah Collins will host the event and representatives from each of the six seeded clubs will participate in the draw: Carlos Bocanegra (Atlanta United technical director), Ali Curtis (Toronto FC general manager), Chris Henderson (Seattle sporting director), Freddy Juarez (RSL head coach), Luiz Muzzi (Orlando City EVP Soccer Ops) and Mark Rojas (LAFC supporter).
The 26 MLS teams will be drawn into six groups (Groups A-F).
- Eastern Conference: The 14 East teams will be split into three groups, one of six teams (Group A) and two with four teams each (Group C & Group E). Note: For the remainder of the 2020 season, Nashville SC will move to the Eastern Conference.
- Western Conference: The 12 West teams will also be divided into three groups, each consisting of four teams each (Group B, Group D, Group F).
All 54 matches will air on MLS partner networks. The final of the tournament will be August 11.
The league worked with infectious disease experts to come up with safety protocols. You can read more about those here.
You can read more about the format of the tournament by clicking here.