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MLS targets April 3 as 2021 season start date

Subject to CBA talks, of course.

Steven Streff

Major League Soccer announced today that they will be kicking off the 2021 season on Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4, with preseason to begin February 22. The league says they intend to include an All-Star Game, along with the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup competitions with Liga MX. The final day of the 34-game regular season is scheduled to be on November 7, with playoffs to begin on November 19 and MLS Cup scheduled for December 11.

The element hanging over these dates of course, is the talks between MLS and it’s Players’ Association. MLS invoked a force majeure clause on December 29 which forced new talks on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (the announcement notes the Union made a counter offer Saturday), so it remains to be seen if these dates will come off as scheduled. Among the obstacles Covid-19 presents include quarantining and testing protocols, and plans for the League’s Canadian teams will be announced at a later date.

MLS and D.C. United will be the earliest of the three men’s pro leagues to resume their season, with the USL Championship (and Loudoun United FC) eyeing a start date of a 32-game season on or about May 1 and USL League One eyeing a 28-game season to begin on or about May 8. The NWSL (and Washington Spirit) are anticipating a mid-April start for the Challenge Cup and a mid-May regular season start, with preseason to begin February 1.