UPSL Plans to Resume League Competition in June
COVID-19’s historic impact, in the U.S. and globally, will long be remembered. From the pandemic’s impact economically to its unprecedented moratorium on soccer … the Coronavirus has created a two month void of the beautiful game which hopefully will end soon. Now, the UPSL has announced good news.
The Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak has caused unprecedented disruption in global soccer but the game may be able to begin again soon, at least for the UPSL, America’s largest amateur soccer league with more than 300 clubs. The pandemic’s impact on soccer has been unequaled, even unimaginable pre-March and as Germany’s Bundesliga hit the field after a 66-day moratorium on May 16, all eyes turn to America.
Announced today, the UPSL Spring/Summer 2020 Season will kick off this year in a condensed format starting Saturday, June 20, and incorporating only the states, counties, and municipalities where soccer is permitted under restrictions due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
In this extremely challenging environment, it is clear that the clubs participating in the UPSL season will be determined by what is safe as the players’ health takes priority. In addition, the competition will be local/regional and there will be no air travel required as this UPSL Spring Season will not culminate with a National Final.
UPSL’s $10,000 prize money will be shared among the Regional Champions after the final games are played Labor Day weekend.
“As the social distancing restrictions across the country continue to ease, we have officially initiated a return back to soccer competition,” said Yan Skawara, UPSL Commissioner. “With our announcement today, we are creating an opportunity for those teams that are able to compete, to do so. And, we know the forthcoming season will require everyone to embrace flexibility and a spirit of cooperation.”
The UPSL’s plans include competitive games that will be held in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and South Carolina, although because of the constantly evolving situation with the pandemic, these decisions will be made closer to the season’s kick off.
“This has been a long road over the past few months and we look forward to seeing the players back in the beautiful game.”Yan Skawara, UPSL Commissioner
In addition, UPSL is relaxing various minimum standards. For example, games will be allowed at neutral venues which might not meet normal UPSL guidelines, and the use of all locker rooms will be prohibited.
UPSL’s Spring/Summer 2020 Voluntary Participation and Deadlines
The teams’ participation during these extraordinary circumstances will be entirely voluntary. The UPSL has determined that many teams do wish to commence competitive play and is presenting the opportunity to do so. Some teams will prefer to not participate at this time.
The deadline for teams to declare their intention is 5 PM PST on Wednesday, June 10. This allows several more weeks for the further relaxing of local restrictions to emerge.
UPSL’s Focus on Safety
A comprehensive list of guidelines will be released separately prior to the declaration deadline.
These will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus. Any player with coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed to play or be present at a game and must be instructed to self-isolate.
UPSL Spring/Summer 2020 Facilities
UPSL staff is already seeking alternative venues to host games in order to assist those teams who will not be able to secure the use of their normal home venues. Teams should liaise with their Conference or Division Manager to address any venue concerns.
New Opportunities to Compete in the UPSL
Given that some teams will choose not to participate, the UPSL will consider a limited number of applications from new teams to join the season.
UPSL Spring Season Format and Schedule
UPSL’s plan for the Spring 2020 season is to hold a 10-game regular season, with the matches ending the weekend of August 22-23 followed immediately by two weekends of playoff competition, the second of those being UPSL Regional Finals on the weekend of September 5-7.
Once participating divisions and teams are known, the play-off structure and season schedule will be released.
UPSL plans to release the schedule for Spring 2020 by or before Thursday, June 11.
UPSL $10,000 Prize Money
In order to avoid air travel, there will be no national finals for this particular season. The $10,000 prize money will be shared among the Regional Champions after the final games are played Labor Day weekend.