State of Play: New England boys soccer

New England has been until now largely resistant to a second wave of COVID-19 and has slowly allowed sports to return. All six states will play high school soccer as scheduled in the fall though Rhode Island won't kick off its season until Friday.

MLS Next teams in New England have been playing since September. ECNL Boys teams have been played in the age groups below under-15. Play in the older age groups is slated to begin in December after the high school season ends.

CONNECTICUT
High school: Connecticut slowly returned to play at the high school level, beginning with training in cohorts of 10 on Aug. 29 and then team practices on Sept. 21 before the shortened season kicked off last Thursday.

There will be a postseason tournament after the regular season ends on Nov. 7, though the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has yet to announce the form it will take.

Connecticut  has one of the oldest high school soccer championships in the nation, crowning boys winners at four levels (LL, L, M, S) since 1975.

MLS Next teams:
Beachside 15, 16, 17, 19
Oakwood SC 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19

ECNL Boys teams:
Connecticut FC 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19
Farmington SA FC 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19

Notable. John Blomstrann stepped down after 40 years as head coach at E.O. Smith in Storrs, but Connecticut's winningest boys coach (565 wins with five state titles) remains on the sidelines as new head coach Mike Radlbeck's assistant.

SA reading.
Oakwood Soccer's Rick Derella: 'We're all in this together so we have to figure it out'
Jon Bradley: A coach's world upended

MAINE.
High school: Soccer also got off to a late start in Maine, where practice began on Sept. 14 and the season kicked off on Sept. 25. Teams can play up to 10 games, but there will be no playoffs after the regular season ends on Nov. 14.

Notable. The 2020 season kicked off with battle of defending Class A and Class B state champions, Falmouth against Yarmouth. Falmouth, the defending Class A state champion, scored after just over four minutes and held on for a 1-0 victory.

MASSACHUSETTS.
High school: In response to the state health directive restricting contact in youth sports, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association controversially rewrote the soccer rule book.

It imposed a ban on corner kicks (now indirect kicks), throw-ins (now kick-ins with opponents giving 10 yards of space), goal kicks beyond midfield, defensive walls and headers and slide tackles.

The MIAA eliminated postseason tournaments for the fall 2020 season.

MLS Next teams:
Boston Bolts 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19
New England Revolution 14, 15, 17, 19
NEFC 13, 14
Valeo FC 13, 14

ECNL Boys teams:
Boston Bolts 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19
NEFC 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19

Notable. Boston Bolts teams are a combined 4-0-0 to kick off play in MLS Next with sweeps by the U-15s and U-16s over Connecticut teams from Beachside and Oakwood.

SA reading.
Pandemic: Youth soccer requires safety strategy that doesn't respect borders

NEW HAMPSHIRE.
High school: The 2020 season kicked off on Sept. 18, 10 days after practice was allowed. Teams have been playing regional schedules -- 10 games maximum -- before open tournament play begins in four divisions on Oct. 16.

MLS Next teams:
Seacoast United  13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19

Notable. At No. 5, Concord High School (4-0-0) is the highest ranked New England school in the current United Soccer Coaches national boys fall rankings.

RHODE ISLAND.
On Sept. 4, Governor Gina Raimondo approved soccer and four other sports to play in the fall, though the soccer season doesn't begin until Friday. The start for football and volleyball was pushed back until between the winter and spring seasons.

MLS Next teams:

Bayside FC 13, 14

Notable. Defending Division III champion St. Raphael Academy has moved to Division I as part of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League's realignment -- high school's form of promotion and relegation.

VERMONT.
High school: 
Whenl soccer started on Saturday, all players were wearing masks. That's part of the new rules for athletes in all Vermont high school sports. (Football was further modified to 7-v-7 touch!)

Notable. On Saturday, Champlain Valley's 37-game unbeaten streak ended when it fell to Essex, 2-1.

Note: U.S. Youth Soccer's EDP New England States League has not yet released information on the 2020-21 season.

1 comment about "State of Play: New England boys soccer".
  1. Bill Dooley, October 7, 2020 at 11:49 a.m.

    There's even video of a game under Massachusetts rules:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYQsY3B7D78

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