By Michael Lewis
The COVID-19 pandemic, which made life difficult for sports in 2020, already has one victim in 2021: the Joe Goldberg Memorial Indoor Soccer Tournament.
Next year’s competition, which traditionally is held during President’s Week, has been cancelled by the Long Island Soccer Football League. In recent years, the tourney has been held at Global Soccer in Uniondale, N.Y.
“It was definitely a hard decision to make,” LISFL president Rocco Avallone said.
Difficult in that the tourney brings together many teams, clubs, officials and players in one venue. The tournament becomes a big social occasion.
“In a way was kind of easy based on the pandemic,” Avallone said. “The decision was not hard to make but it did hurt us personally. This is ra tournament that lasts for one whole week on President’s Week where we can really see everybody. We have about 60 teams. Throughout the year, the only time you really get to see them is maybe if we have an AGM at the end of the year. When we have a regular meetings they don’t always all show up but at the tournaments, they will come in.
“So, during he week, you get to see everybody, not only the players from every team, but also the coaches, some of their administrators or managers, things like that. You know by name, but you never really see the face until you see him at the indoor. So, it was a blow to the league, but it was something that we had no choice based on the pandemic.”
The indoor tournament will return in February 2022.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Avallone said. “This is just a little bump in the road. We have absolutely no reason to believe that we will not be playing indoor tournament next year, next year, meaning Presidents Week in 2022.”
The LISFL completed its fall season without much incident as teams, game officials, coaches and players followed the league’s COVID-19 protocol. In fact, the LISFL was the only adult league to compete in the area from September to December.
Avallone said there were no “hiccups, no issues.”
“All the games were played,” he added. “We made sure we had our PPE’s, all of the protocols, from the state, local, and federal government were being followed. We had representatives from the league show up at the fields to make sure people were complying with the recommendations. And if they weren’t, they would all be fined.
“Thank God we did not have to fine anybody, so, it all worked out. We were lucky in a way but also I think we did the right thing, like some of the professional sports did. We actually were at a lower level, easier to control than some of these professional leagues, [like] football and baseball throughout the season.”
Because field permits were not allowed in New York City, several Cosmopolitan Soccer League teams participated in the LISFL fall season.
“Its a different league, but we’re really not competitors,” Avallone said. “We kind of work together. Some of their teams wanted to play with us. We were the only game in town, and we let them come in and they will finish the season with us and then probably go back to the Cosmopolitan league, which is the right thing to do. Everybody gets to play soccer.”
The LISFL plans to start its spring season in March.