By Michael Lewis Editor

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, all six teams in the Metropolitan Conference in the USL League Two have withdrawn from the Metropolitan Conference, it was announced Wednesday.

The clubs were Cedar Stars Academy, FA Euro, Long Island Rough Riders, Manhattan Soccer Club, the Red Bulls and Westchester Flames.

“As painful as this decision has been, we strongly believe it is the right decision,” the division teams said in a statement. “Our preparation for the 2021 USL League Two Season begins now.”

The season was to begin in May after college let out.

“Thank you for your patience as we have worked with the league, fellow clubs, our local community, and our stakeholders to understand the implications of this global pandemic and the ramifications on the 2020 season,” the statement said. “Ultimately, it is clear we must act in the best interest of everyone involved at the club, including our incoming players, staff, supporters and sponsors.

“We had big plans for 2020 after our staff worked very hard over the past months to assemble an excellent group of players, and we were eager to introduce them to you. At this time, however, the health and well being of everyone in our community must come first. We have thus made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2020 USL League Two season.”

USL vice president Joel Nash said the league supported the division’s decision.

“We absolutely support the Metropolitan Division teams’ decision not to participate in the 2020 League Two season,” he said in a statement. “This decision is about much more than soccer and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2021.”