Oldest U.S. youth championship canceled for 2020

The McGuire Cup for U-19s boys that crowned its first champion in 1935 will not take place this year, nor will U.S. Youth Soccer's other 13 boys and girls national championships. On Tuesday, USYS Chair Pete Zopfi and CEO Skip Gilbert sent a memo to USYS's 55 state association presidents announcing the cancellation because of COVID-19 of the USYS 2020 National Championships, the 2020 Presidents Cup and their regional competitions.

The annual McGuire Cup, won by the Reliable Juniors of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1935, was canceled in 1942, 1943 and 1944 because of war-effort travel restrictions during World War II, and has been played every year since. None of the other USYS championships, including the Boys U-16 launched in 1976 and the Girls U-19 launched in 1980, have ever missed a year.

US Youth Soccer, the nation's largest youth sports organization, on March 10 canceled its National League showcase scheduled for Las Vegas March 13-15 and March 20-22, affecting 208 National League boys and girls teams in the U-14 to U-19 age groups.

The four regional championships that determine USYS national championship qualifiers, canceled on March 31, were slated for June in Boise, Idaho (Far West); Westfield, Indiana (Midwest); Greenville, South Carolina (Southern) and Charleston and Barboursville, West Virginia (East). This year's National Championships were scheduled for July 20-26 in Overland Park, Kansas.

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The March 31 memo announced:

"As of today, we have decided to push back our return to activity date for our US Youth Soccer Conferences to May 1st, 2020. This will allow all 55 State Associations to review the impact of COVID-19 on their members and make their own informed decisions on a return-to-play date. In addition, USYS is cancelling the 2020 Presidents Cup, our 2020 National Championships and all of the regional competitions leading up to those two events."

The reasons cited for canceling championships were:

1. Financial Impact to Families. COVID-19 is likely to have a devastating financial impact on many USYS families. As a result, many teams are unlikely to attend or attend with reduced rosters. At this time, we feel it would be unfair to place that additional burden on USYS families in need.

2. Stress on Families. If it were possible, however unlikely, that we could return to play in May, many families will still be hesitant to travel on an airplane or stay in a hotel. Again, we do not want to place that additional burden on our USYS families.

3. Integrity of USYS Competitions. If teams that would normally qualify for a Championship do not have the opportunity because of the impact of COVID-19, is it really a Championship? We must ensure that every club within the USYS Family has an equal opportunity to succeed and if they don’t, we diminish the integrity and meaning of the Championship. As of today, many States will not be able to complete their State Cups in time to qualify for Regionals, thus eliminating all of their potential teams from qualification.

4. Focus on Local USYS Leagues and Communities. Many soccer clubs and their employed coaches survive on registration fees. At a time where every community will be struggling to find fields to start and complete even a part of their spring schedule, our focus should be on those local leagues to bring our communities back together through sport, not distracted by a national tournament. 2020 must be about coming back together, not just winning.

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The USYS Presidents Cup, U-13 through U-18 boys and girls, was launched in 2008. Regional Presidents Cup championships were scheduled for June in Charleston and Barboursville, West Virginia; St. Louis, Dallas; and Norco, California. The National President's Cup had been slated for Las Vegas July 8-12.

"We can imagine the disappointment many players, coaches and families will feel. Not being able to join their team in a run for the Cup and fulfill their dreams and goals is extremely hard to fathom, especially for our oldest players hoping to make one last run at hoisting the National Championship Cup. We are also acutely aware of those older players hoping these competitions could support their collegiate recruiting efforts. While there are no words to ease the disappointment, some day when they think about why the decision was made, they will hopefully come to agree that this was the right call." -- USYS Programming Notice 3/31/20

USYS National Championships
U-19 James P. McGuire CUP (founded 1935)
U-18 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (1994)
U-17 Don Greer Cup (1991)
U-16 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (1976)
U-15 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2001)
U-14 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2001)
U-13 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2013)

U-19 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (founded 1980)
U-18 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (1994)
U-17 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (1991)
U-16 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (1985)
U-15 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2001)
U-14 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2001)
U-13 U.S. Youth Soccer Cup (2013)

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