Major League Soccer suspending season due to coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 8:13 AM, Mar 12, 2020

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Major League Soccer (MLS) is suspending its season for 30 days, effective immediately, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The league made the announcement Thursday morning, saying it continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.

Prior to the suspension, two MLS matches scheduled for March 21 had already been postponed in Seattle and San Jose in efforts to slow the outbreak in Washington state and California.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

It’s been just two weeks since MLS kicked off its 2020 campaign. The regular season began on Feb. 29 and was expected to last until Oct. 4.

MLS is highest level of soccer in the United State in Canada. The league is made up of 26 teams, 23 in the U.S. and three in Canada.

The United States' second-tier soccer league, USL Championship, also announced it was suspending play on Thursday.

The suspension of MLS comes a day after the National Basketball Association (NBA) paused its season due to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The NBA made the decision after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus Wednesday. The test result was reported shortly before tip-off between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game was then canceled.

On Thursday, a second Jazz player reportedly tested positive for the virus, teammate Donovan Mitchell.

The NBA says its suspension will last until further notice and its officials will use the hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the outbreak.