By Michael Lewis
Let’s get right to the point:
While it was disappointing news for so many reasons and for so many people, the National Premier Soccer League did the right thing canceling its 2020 spring outdoor season on Thursday.
Yours truly hates to see a soccer club or league sidelined for any reason, but the league’s board of directors saw no other reason but to call the season.
In a statement released to the media on Thursday afternoon, NPSL chairman of the board Kenneth Farrell said that since the U.S. Adult Soccer Association extended its soccer activity ban until April 30 and that the Center for Disease Control recommended there should be no group activities for eight weeks — or through May 10 — due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Using that as a guideline, it would be difficult for players and teams to find match fitness in time for the season, which traditionally kicks off at that time (the West Region already began and stopped play).
“This action was not taken lightly,” Farrell said in a statement.
Even though it is “only” March 26, Farrell and the board did their homework, looked at what has been transpiring in the some of the hotspots in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut areas, California and Washington, and determined that this was the best course of action. Plus, many of the fields compete on are owned and regulated by local schools or governments.
Add the fact that players must report to colleges in August, the NPSL is not in a position to extend its summer season. There is a Members Cup that is slated to kick off in late summer. So, stay tuned for more updates on that situation.
Which brings us to similar leagues that given amateur and college players opportunities to play and have short spring-summer seasons. That includes USL League Two, United Women’s Soccer and the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
Every league has different circumstances and environments, but if the pandemic spreads as predicted, these leagues might be forced to make some difficult decisions in the coming weeks, if not days.
If anyone else must cancel its season, it will be disappointing, but understandable given these incredible and trying times.
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