After the NBA announced they would suspend their season indefinitely on Wednesday because of coronavirus, MLS took the same step on Thursday morning and shortly after that, the USL Championship did likewise, announcing all play in the league would be halted for a minimum of 30 days.
USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play pic.twitter.com/lUwfXvnIbl— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) March 12, 2020
That means Orange County SC, who are just one week into the 2020 regular season, will stop play for at least a month. The team released a statement on the news to Angels on Parade on Thursday afternoon:
In light of recent announcements from Governor Newsom and the United Soccer League, and in coordination with the City of Irvine and Orange County health agencies, the decision has been made to suspend upcoming Orange County SC home games for at least the next thirty days. Our priority is the safety of our fans, players and staff so out of an abundance of caution we fully support these decisions which include matches originally scheduled for March 21, March 28 and April 4.
Fans with tickets to Orange County SC home games during the hiatus will receive vouchers good for any regular-season game and fans who purchased tickets to the March 21st Beerfest will be able to redeem those tickets for any future Beerfest events scheduled for July 25 and October 17.
We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely to determine the next steps for future games and events. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests, and partners during this unprecedented time.
We will release more information and an updated schedule as it becomes available. The impact of COVID-19 impacts all of us in Orange County and we are committed to doing our part for our community.
OCSC executive Jeff Garner also released comment on the news:
“The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is our top priority so we fully support the decisions of California Governor Gavin Newsom and the USL Championship to suspend play for at least the next thirty days,” said Garner, President of Business Operations. “We will continue to work with local, state and federal health professionals, as well as the USL Championship, to resume play once we can ensure a safe environment for everyone.”
The Orange County games immediately affected by the postponement are the March 21 home game against San Diego Loyal, March 28 against RGVFC at home, April 4 against Tacoma Defiance and April 11 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks. A fifth game, on April 8 against California United Strikers FC in the U.S. Open Cup, is not yet specifically addressed, although Jeff Rueter of The Athletic reported the USL plan to pull out of the competition altogether.
For now, we can deal with the soccer aspects of this later, it’s time to buckle down and do our part to stop the spread of coronavirus. Practice good hygiene, take care of yourself and others, and do not increase risk. Let’s tackle this and then we can hopefully get back to watching soccer tackles before long.
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