18 MLS players test positive for coronavirus in run up to return tournament

MLS has announced that 18 players and six staff members have received positive tests as the league prepares to return to play for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The league is set to resume on July 8 with the start of the MLS is Back tournament, with each of the league's teams heading to Orlando for a competition that will include a group stage and knockout rounds.

Teams were able to begin training on June 4 and, since training began, a total of 668 players have been tested.

On Sunday, MLS confirmed that, of those 668, 18 have received positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests prior to heading to Orlando.

Prior to travelling to Orlando and entering the league's isolated setup for the tournament, players and staff must complete an additional two PCR tests 24 hours apart and within approximately 72 hours of travel. After that, all of those travelling will be required to take another PCR test and will be quarantined until they receive the result of that test.

Any individual who produced a positive test after arriving in Orlando will undergo a clinical assessment by a healthcare provider while also being moved to the isolation area of the hotel until receiving medical clearance.

Starting on Tuesday, the league will begin providing updates every other day with testing results for all involved in the MLS is Back tournament.

As of Sunday, three MLS clubs have already entered the league's setup in Orlando: the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas and hosts Orlando City.

So far, a total of 329 people have been administered PCR tests on-site, with two tests producing positive results from players who had just arrived in Orlando.

With the tournament nearing kickoff, all teams are required to be settled in Orlando within seven days of their opening match of the tournament.

The tournament will make MLS the first major men's professional sports league to return to play in the U.S., with the NWSL resuming play this past weekend.

Hosts Orlando City will face local rivals Inter Miami in the first matchup of the tournament and the first matchup of the two Florida teams.

Later that night, Inter Miami's expansion partner Nashville SC will face the Chicago Fire.