HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The Hofstra University department of athletics is suspending intercollegiate athletics competition for the fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced Friday afternoon.

That means the Pride’s men’s and women’s soccer teams won’t be competing in the Colonial Athletic Association.

In a press release, the university said that its mission was “to care for the health, safety, and welfare of its student-athletes, coaches, and staff.”

“We understand today’s announcement is difficult for our Hofstra community and particularly our student-athletes, coaches, and staff,” Hofstra vice president and director of athletics Rick Cole Jr. said in a statement “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a multitude of incredible challenges to our athletics program. Each and every decision made during this time has been made with student-athlete, coach, and staff welfare, safety, and health at the forefront. While our fall sports teams will not be competing, we will continue to plan for the return of our athletic teams to their respective fields of play. Under the guidelines of CDC, local, state, and Hofstra University, we will pursue a safe return to sports when the situation dictates.”

In a statement released by CAA board of directors, the conference said it understood and supported Hofstra’s decision.

“The institutions of the Colonial Athletic Association recognize that we compete in a conference made up of 10 distinctive institutions that are located in eight states,” the statement read. “As one conference, we share a commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes, campuses, and communities. As we each navigate this pandemic, we recognize that each of our 10 members must rely on local and state guidance, as well as medical expertise that may result in different decisions and different timelines for each institution. Therefore, we support each other and the unique circumstances of each of our campuses and communities to make decisions that are best for them. We do so as 10 institutions aligned as one conference.”

Although Hofstra teams will not compete during the fall season, practice and strength and conditioning opportunities will be allowed if health and safety guidelines as provided by the Center of Disease Control and prevention, Nassau County, New York State and Hofstra University are followed.

The school added that its department of athletics will continue to work on a return to play strategy and one that will provide its athletic programs with a safe environment in which to practice, prepare and compete.

Hofstra plans to proceed with winter and spring sports competitions as scheduled, as well as the scheduling of fall sports during the spring semester.

The university will continue its dialogue with CAA leadership and its fellow member institutions to ensure that all available information is considered for any future decisions.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.