2020 MLS Is Back Tournament

Safe Transportation for a “Bubble” Soccer Tournament

In 2020, COVID-19 caused Major League Soccer to cancel its regular season due to the pandemic which included the all-star and championship games. MLS pioneered a new type of sports event: bringing 26 clubs to Orlando for an eight-week tournament within a bubble adhering to strict COVID protocols.

TMS was contracted with just two weeks to plan and provide customized, flexible transportation logistics, parking planning, and management solutions for all MLS players and staff throughout the tournament.

2020 MLS Is Back Tournament
  • Location of Project:

    Orlando, FL

  • Work Performed:

    Development of transportation and traffic management plans and delivery of transportation services for a 55-day tournament with 26 MLS teams

  • Participation:

    Main Contractor to Major League Soccer


The tight timeline and complexity of planning a first-time tournament of its size during a pandemic introduced unique challenges. TMS designed a complex transportation and parking system, comprised of 52 buses and seven contract bus companies from local markets that all maintained rigorous health and safety procedures.

With each team’s schedule remaining fluid throughout the event, many match schedules were provided less than 12 hours in advance. TMS was responsible for organizing and communicating changing information seamlessly with all vendors and stakeholders.

Responsibilities of the contract included:

  • tms arrow icon
    Developed and delivered all bus services, wayfinding signage, and parking systems for efficient operations.
  • tms arrow icon
    Provided key onsite staff and facilitated ongoing communication with the MLS teams and staff.
  • tms arrow icon
    Trained and briefed drivers, dispatchers, and other staff on COVID-19 protocol, provided PPE, and conducted daily testing for staff and drivers.
  • tms arrow icon
    Maintained an additional “flex” bus onsite daily in case of a maintenance or scheduling issue.

“We are big fans of TMS. They have come in and supported us during challenging and critical times. They make an effort to learn our business and what our priorities are. They know who’s getting on the bus and for what reason, and they customize their experience based on that. Some vendors/agencies are just worried about getting people from A to B, and that’s not the case here. They really think through the whole experience.” – Jen Maurillo, SVP, Events at Major League Soccer


  • tms arrow icon
    Successfully planned and operated transportation for 1,850 people at a high-profile and complex event.
  • tms arrow icon
    Managed 26 teams simultaneously, working with each team admin to confirm schedules for all transportation for a 55-day tournament.
  • tms arrow icon
    Assigned a dedicated driver to each MLS team to provide continuity and minimize the risk of transmission.
  • tms arrow icon
    Implemented COVID-19 precautions, including installing driver barriers, cleaning and sanitizing buses daily prior to use, and assigning socially distanced seating (to reduce risk and facilitate contact tracing, if necessary).
  • tms arrow icon
    Collaborated with MLS staff to find solutions for challenges and improve protocols throughout the tournament.


The pandemic introduced unique challenges to the event industry. TMS’ dedicated team developed a custom transportation solution while maintaining rigorous health and safety protocols to deliver transportation services with a two-week turnaround time.

Learn more about how TMS can assist with your sports transportation and parking management needs.

Learn more about our service-first mindset.