The Vancouver Whitecaps said it has ordered two players to self-quarantine for 14 days after they violated club and league orders to abide by physical distancing guidelines in B.C.
The Whitecaps found out forward Yordy Reyna, 26, played a game of soccer at Vancouver’s Andy Livingstone Park on Tuesday. The team says 22-year-old centre back Jasser Khmiri has also violated physical distancing protocols, although the details of that incident have not been made public.
According to team sporting director Axel Schuster, Reyna was working out in the park on his own while a few friends were playing a game of pickup soccer nearby.
The friends kicked the ball to Reyna who then played with them for about five minutes.
However, the incident was inadvertently captured by a Global News TV crew producing a story about COVID-19 restrictions.
Yordy reyna was a stud at andy livingston park last night <a href=”https://t.co/cJCVSg5rF6″>pic.twitter.com/cJCVSg5rF6</a>
A team employee saw Reyna, briefly, on the TV broadcast playing the game. The employee showed the TV report to team management which began disciplinary proceedings against Reyna.
“I am deeply sorry for my actions and apologize to the community, my teammates and coaches,” Reyna said in a statement from the club.
Major League Soccer is aware of the incident, the Whitecaps said. Reyna has been fined, but the team has not disclosed the amount.
Admitted actions, club director said
Schuster said the importance of obeying physical distancing rules in B.C. has been emphasized with Reyna and other players.
He said Reyna immediately admitted his actions when confronted.
“It was bad in a lot of ways what he did, but in the end, he is a human being. He didn’t go out and say… ‘I disrespect the rules,’ ” Schuster said.
Schuster said Reyna is the first player the team has caught violating physical distancing guidelines.
“We have to show everybody we respect the rules,” he said. “We have to be top of the top to address the right message to kids.”
Schuster said some players have found it difficult to practise during the health emergency with the usual facilities closed. Parks and even sidewalks have sometimes been crowded.
The team plans to move into more controlled, structured workouts at their practice facility at the University of British Columbia, Schuster said.
Reyna is originally from Chiclayo, Peru, and is in his fourth season with the Whitecaps. Previously, he played professionally in Peru, Austria and Germany.