TORONTO, Canada—Two days after officially ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), Major League Soccer announced today that the 2021 regular season will now kick off on Saturday, April 17.
During negotiations, the league had originally announced that the start of the 2021 season would be April 3, with training camps opening on February 22. But with the ‘deadline’ for negotiations extended on two separate occasions, MLS has now opted for a later start date.
The full MLS regular season schedule, including training camp dates, is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. If logic dictates, training camps will open on Mar. 6, but we’ll wait for an official announcement on that.
Commissioner Don Garber also told reporters on Wednesday that for most clubs, he expects the majority of the 2021 season to be played without fans.
And when asked about the potential of Canadian clubs starting their seasons at home, Garber had “no comment.” He did offer that it’s “very challenging” for the Canadian teams, with the league being forced to comply with Health Canada protocols and that Canadian clubs were in the process of making alternative plans.
When further asked about Canadian teams, the commissioner said that the league was “really close” to being able to announce where Canadian clubs will play next season, alluding to the likelihood Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, and
the Montreal Impact CF Montreal will likely have to reside in the United States, at least to start the year.
Don Garber: "We’re really close to being able to announce where our Canadian clubs will play."— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) February 10, 2021
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Vancouver Whitecaps would start the 2021 MLS season out of Real Salt Lake in Utah.
Toronto FC, meanwhile, have yet to determine where they will set up shop to begin next season after finishing off their campaign last year in East Hartford, Connecticut.
For what it’s worth, MLSE-owned Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that the team will be playing the remainder of their 2020-21 season out of Tampa, Florida due to ongoing border restrictions and public safety measures in Canada.