Update: American soccer shuts down

MLS, the USL and U.S. Soccer moved quickly on Thursday to suspend play in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MLS. MLS suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, and will later communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

MLS was slated to play its third week of play this weekend with 12 games.

Also affected is the Concacaf Champions League. Concacaf suspended the competition with immediate effect. LAFC was supposed to host Cruz Azul on Thursday night. That game is off. Three other MLS teams  lost the first legs of the quarterfinal series earlier in the week. 

USL. The USL announced it had suspended the 2020 USL Championship season for a minimum of 30 days. The USL Championship played its opening games last weekend.

“It was very clear from our owners that the health and safety of players, fans and staff was their top priority,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “In consultation with local, state and national health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, we have temporarily suspended match play for a minimum of 30 days.”

USL League One was slated to begin its second season on March 27 but has delayed its start by a minimum of two weeks. 

NISA. NISA, the other Division 3 league, played the first two weeks of its inaugural season but is also suspending play for the next 30 days effective immediately.

NWSL. The NWSL, which just entered preseason this week, canceled the 2020 preseason match schedule. It is reviewing all contingency plans related to the regular season, scheduled to start on April 18.

U.S. Soccer. The federation announced the following moves:

-- The U.S. men's and women's national team matches in March and April were called off. The men were scheduled to play the Netherlands on March 26 in Eindhoven and Wales on March 30 in Cardiff. The women were scheduled to host Australia on April 10 in Sandy, Utah, and Brazil on April 14 in San Jose, Calif.

-- U.S. Soccer also canceled the majority of youth national team and extended national team camps programming planned through the end of April.

Youth. The Development Academy suspended official operations through the end of April and canceled the 2020 Allstate Spring Cup scheduled for April 29-May 4. MLS canceled the Generation Adidas Cup, its under-17 international youth tournament while the Dallas Cup won't be played for the first time in 40 years. The ECNL suspended play while U.S. Youth Soccer canceled ODP national and regional trips to Europe.

Concacaf is expected to call off the Concacaf Olympic Men's Qualifying Tournament, which was slated to begin March 20 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The majority of the U.S. team was already in Guadalajara.

Photo: Philippe Lecoeur/FEP/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire

2 comments about "Update: American soccer shuts down".
  1. Bob Ashpole, March 12, 2020 at 9:50 p.m.

    This is expected.

  2. R2 Dad, March 12, 2020 at 10:06 p.m.

    All the amateur matches through March are getting canceled as well. Curious if this will be a canceling or a rescheduling, which will depend on how effective the next two weeks will be. We don't have Wuhan-levels of shutdown, so expect cases to increase like every other nation except singapore and japan, who are managing this much better than everyone else.

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