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Yordy Reyna & Jasser Khmiri Break Physical Distancing Protocols

The Whitecaps players will enter a 14-day self-isolation period.

Minnesota United FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

In a surprising announcement on Wednesday afternoon, the Vancouver Whitecaps revealed that Yordy Reyna had “broken physical distancing protocols” and would be entering a “14-day self-quarantine period as ordered by club officials”.

In an official club statement, Axel Schuster added his thoughts on the incident: “Our public health authorities are doing an incredible job leading us through this pandemic and we fully support them in their work...As a club and member of our community, we take the responsibility to demonstrate leadership in this area very seriously. Throughout this crisis, the club has been extremely clear in all our communication on the importance of physical distancing and proper hygiene.”

Reyna, who is rarely available to the media, submitted his apology through the same club statement: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and apologize to the community, my teammates and coaches”.

Reyna’s isolation period will not be starting at an ideal time for the Peruvian, as Major League Soccer announced just last week that as of May 6th, individual workouts would be permitted at club training facilities.

Despite the league start date, as of late Wednesday, the Whitecaps are still awaiting approval from local authorities to commencal individual training sessions.

With this being the first major step the league has taken towards resuming play, it’s certainly not a good look for the Whitecaps organization, or MLS as a whole, to have a player disregarding public health guidelines during a crucial period for the league.

Following the club statement, twitter user Ennio Martino shared a screen grab of Global News which showed Reyna playing soccer at Andy Livingstone park in Downtown Vancouver the previous evening.

The club confirmed through conference call that this was indeed the incident in question, and that a club staff member initially alerted the team to the incident.

In the same conference call, Schuster detailed Reyna’s explanation of the incident, and how the video of Reyna which found itself on local news came to be: “He went out for his personal workout. He saw some guys that he knew, and they kicked the ball over to him and asked him to join them. He made a mistake. He was very open about the whole issue and he apologized immediately. He knew that he did something wrong.”

Schuster also added further thoughts on the incident: “Now he cannot take part in any training that happens over the next 14 days. He was also fined [by the club]. At this point, we don’t see a reason to do more than that.”

Later the same evening, the club announced that Jasser Khmiri also would be entering 14-day isolation after it was discovered he was also at the field with Reyna. While the club initially denied that there were other participants, video revealed that Khmiri was also present.

The Whitecaps later revealed that they were aware Khmiri was at the park, but initially were led to believe that he was only there to conduct his own individual workout - and had maintained social distance.