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Peter Vermes: Sporting Kansas City's return to training can serve as an MLS model

Sporting Kansas City were one of four MLS teams Wednesday to start individual training sessions, an important first step in the long process of getting the 2020 season rolling again.

Head coach Peter Vermes, of course, was excited to have his players back in a team-run, soccer-specific environment. However, he hopes their efforts, ones that follow the league’s social distancing protocol, can serve as a model for clubs that aren’t permitted to train yet due to state or local restrictions.

“I think this is going to be a huge help to the other markets that maybe have a little bit more restrictions and maybe their government officials aren't very confident about it,” Vermes said. “I just think, hopefully, this demonstrated performance will help move those different markets along in a meaningful way. I feel good about that aspect, and whatever we can do to help the league continue to move forward is our main objective."

Vermes also hopes that the MLS guidelines can be applied to other businesses. Professional soccer players need open space for technical work and cardiovascular conditioning, but other segments of day-to-day life often occur in more confined spaces.

“I think you just have to be a little creative and I think all the steps, it will be like building blocks,” Vermes said. “One step after another, then hopefully we get to a place where, as I keep trying to say, I don’t want to get back to my old life. I’d like to get back to a better life. So, hoping for that and hope it comes soon.”

As for early returns, Vermes is encouraged by what he’s seen. The measures certainly err on the side of caution, but he’d prefer that.

“I just think the protocol is maybe at times, not to be critical, is probably a little bit over the top,” Vermes said. “But it’s the right thing to do, especially in this early period to find out how things are working. I think everybody is following it really well."