By Michael Lewis
Regardless how New York City FC fares in the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando, Fla., the team will have to enter a two-week quarantine, says team captain Alex Ring.
On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with his counterparts from New Jersey and Connecticut, announced that all people traveling from hotspots to those respective states will have to go into a two-week quarantine starting at midnight Wednesday.
Florida is on the list.
“I just heard that we have to go into two-week quarantine once we come back,” Ring said during a media conference call on Wednesday afternoon. “I think the governor signed some laws. We’re almost going to have a third preseason again if we start playing again.
“It’s been a rough six months; very, very different to what you’re used to. I think it takes a lot of adapting from everyone – players, league, owners. This is unprecedented. I think everyone is trying to do their best at this point.”
Ring stressed that everyone’s health and safety should be front and center before, during and after the tournament.
MLS is heading to a major hotspot. Earlier this week, Orlando Pride had six players test positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
“Health and safety go before anything,” Ring said. “I don’t know if teams have to tell once they have cases. It’s hard to say. I think it’s important that the league realizes that we’re all willing to play, but not at the cost of health, safety. I think that’s important.
“I don’t want to call us guinea pigs, but we are giving up a lot coming to Orlando, being away from our families. You have to guarantee health and safety for the players. If that’s not given, then that’s the situation we’re in at the moment in this pandemic.”
NYCFC will play three group stage games, meeting the Philadelphia Union on Thursday, July 9 at 9 a.m., Orlando City SC on Tuesday, July 14 at 10:30 p.m. and Chicago Fire FC on Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m. All games will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
“Of course, we want to play,” Ring said. “I have been running for eight weeks by myself. It has not been easy. Everyone is itching to come back. The most important thing we learned about the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, safety and health. No money, nothing will buy you that. I think that’s something that we always should keep in mind. I hope they [MLS] make the right decisions and nothing severe happens once we’re there. That would leave a mark if something severe would happen. My concern is for all the people going down there and putting their health at risk.”