I realize a few people out there still think of soccer on the level of watching paint dry or grass grow. Considering that the only 'sports' we have had for the last three months is watching grass grow and paint dry, I will take a group of highly skilled athletes performing dazzling stunts with a ball at their feet on the pitch any day. And that day is coming.

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced this week that they have finalized plans for an 'MLS is Back Tournament' at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL. The league had started its 25th season when the coronavirus pandemic shut things down. The Minnesota Loons had started their campaign with a pair of road victories. They had yet to open their second season at Allianz Field in St. Paul. This is the third year Minnesota United has been an MLS team, having played home matches their first season at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

In the league's news release, which was posted on MN United's website, MLS commissioner Don Garber states, "We are pleased to team up with Disney to relaunch the 2020 MLS season and get back to playing soccer. They opportunity to have all 26 clubs is a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play."

All 26 will begin arriving in Florida June 24 with the group stage of a World Cup-style tournament beginning July 8. The news release also indiates, "Upon completion of the MLS is Back Tournament, MLS plans to continue its regular season with revised schedule in home markets..."

"...in home markets..."

There is no announcement of whether spectators will be allowed. But I would certainly jump at the chance to see a game again at Alliianz Field. I attended one match during the debut season at the field and had a wonderful time. The field is featured in the photo gallery that follows these words.

Realizing that full stands will not likely be allowed, and with the challenge to get what tickets may be available, maybe I could get into the stadium on an off-day to watch the grass grow. Or possible watch the lines they painted for the next day's game dry.


NEXT UP: Which is Your Favorite MN Sports Venue?





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