The coronavirus pandemic has put an indefinite hold on live games, but Major League Soccer remains active, and the league is taking steps to ensure that athletes of all ages and skill levels, as well as coaches, do the same.
MLS introduced Train With MLS Thursday, describing it as a portal featuring hundreds of videos from all 26 of its clubs geared toward coaches, parents and recreational players of all ages and abilities.
Senior vice president of media Chris Schlosser said the initiative came together in about one week, adding, “It was born out of the realization that many athletes are at home and looking for ways to stay fit. We saw an opportunity to connect our coaches with athletes who need new workouts. We started working with all of our clubs and found hundreds of videos.”
All of the content featured in Train With MLS has been reviewed, analyzed and ranked by the MLS Player Relations and Competition Department, as well as by some of the league’s top coaches.
The videos range from 30 seconds to 20 minutes and longer, and they feature drills, workouts and coaching tips, all available free-of-charge.
The league kept social distancing constraints in mind, saying that the activities in Train With MLS were designed to be performed either indoors or outdoors, in small spaces and requiring just a soccer ball. “Anything that works indoors can be done outdoors,” Schlosser pointed out.
Content in Train With MLS is sorted by type—such as ball mastery, dribbling, fun and fitness—to enable users to set up customized training programs, and skills are grouped into three difficulty levels so that players can progress at their own speed: fundamental, intermediate and advanced.
MLS offered the example that youth recreational players can work on basic toe taps to improve their ball control skills, while more advanced players can partake in first-touch drills incorporating cones.
In addition to training, the portal will offer videos on mental fitness, strength training and cardio workouts.
And coaches at all levels can view weekly talks in which coaches share career stories, practice plans, new interactive activities and other tricks of the trade.
Schlosser described the latter as “TED-style coaching talks in which coaches talk about their careers, training regimes and tactics,” adding that they will be rolled out weekly as “there are a lot of coaches out there looking for ways to stay sharp.”
He concluded, “We see this as a way to serve the fans, provide them with a little entertainment, help entertain kid and, help athletes who want to get better. This could be something that has legs beyond the crisis.”