Major League Soccer today announced the 2021 MLS season will begin on Saturday, April 3 and feature 34 matches for each of the league’s 27 clubs. MLS’ 26th regular season will conclude on MLS Decision Day, November 7, and the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs will begin November 19. MLS Cup will be played on Saturday, December 11.
Clubs will be permitted to open preseason training on February 22, six weeks prior to MLS is Back opening weekend. In accordance with MLS health and safety protocols, players will be required to quarantine and conduct individual trainings upon reporting back to their clubs.
Yes, your read that correctly. The opening weekend is called MLS is Back, the same name used last summer during the tournament in Orlando.
There are still some details to be worked out for the three teams in Canada. Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, Major League Soccer continues to work with the league’s three Canadian clubs regarding plans for the 2021 regular season. More details on plans for the Canadian teams will be announced in the near future.
Similar to the 2020 MLS season, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS’ competition framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league and MLSPA’s infectious disease advisors on health and 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 match day. In addition, clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips until further notice.
FC Dallas will see a new rival in Austin FC this season as they join the MLS Western Conference.
No word yet on what day the official schedule will be released for the season but the league hopes that to be announced in the coming weeks.