AUSTIN (KXAN) — Major League Soccer finalized its labor agreement this week, avoiding a potential lockout to start the 2021 season. However, due to the length of negotiations, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday that the season start date will be pushed back two weeks.
The MLS regular season will now kick off on Saturday, April 17 instead of April 3. MLS will announce the 2021 MLS regular season schedule in the coming weeks, according to a league release.
The entire schedule is essentially shifting with the latest news from Commissioner Garber.
Preseason training camp will start March 8 instead of the original date on Feb. 22. The league is still expected to provide a full 34-game schedule for all 27 clubs. The 2020 season was abbreviated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The timeline won’t affect Austin FC’s debut season significantly — it will likely help the local franchise.
Team leadership expects to start its inaugural season on the road for the first two months. The club’s Q2 Stadium is expected to be completed on time, but infrastructure surrounding the stadium is still a work in progress, according to Austin FC President Andy Loughnane.
Due to all of the elements required to have the stadium fully operational, Austin FC estimates its first home game will be in June.
The new collective bargaining agreement was initially settled Friday night.