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2021 MLS season to start April 17

That and other news tidbits from MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Houston Dynamo Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 MLS regular season is now set to kick off on Saturday, April 17.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed that date during a call with reporters on Wednesday, with the league and teams rolling out promos in relation to the news.

Further details, such as when preseason training camps will open and when the regular season schedule will be unveiled were not specified on Wednesday’s call, although Garber said the preseason has effectively been pushed back roughly two weeks from the original target start date of Feb. 22. Two weeks from that date is Mar. 8, for reference. He also said the hope was to get the regular season schedule out in March.

The conversation was wide-ranging with Garber, and he touched on the recent CBA ratified by both the league’s owners and MLS Players Association, the media rights agreements, working through a pandemic and the financial aspects, and more. Garber did say that charter flights will continue to be the mode of travel through the pandemic. He also noted that he does not foresee a scenario in which the league would mandate players get a COVID vaccination this year, but would encourage them to do it in part to set a good example for the wider population. He also emphasized he does not want players and staff in MLS to cut in line to get vaccinations, instead waiting for their turn after more at-risk populations have been attended to first.

In addition, when asked if teams will play in multiple competitions or if teams will be “rationed” additional competitions like U.S. Open Cup, Leagues Cup and Concacaf Champions League on top of league play, Garber said no determinations have been set at this point.

So it looks like we’re about a month away from training camp now, although we obviously know things can change. We’ll keep you posted on updates as we hear them.

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