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USL Championship announce tentative restart date of July 11

Orange County SC could be back in action in a matter of weeks.

Courtesy of Orange County SC.

The USL announced Thursday the USL Championship has a tentative restart date of July 11, approved by the Board of Governors and moving the league a step closer to restarting the 2020 season out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is the full league announcement:

The USL Championship is pleased to announce its Board of Governors voted on Thursday in favor of returning to play for the 2020 season, with a provisional start date set for July 11. While additional information on competition format, scheduling, broadcast and other important details will be made available in the coming weeks, it’s important to note that the league’s return to play will be conducted in strict alignment with all local and state public health guidelines. USL HQ also remains in regular dialogue with the USL Players Association on all matters concerning player health and wellness protocols and looks forward to continuing those discussions.

To USL supporters across the country, we are grateful for your support throughout this process and look forward to being back in action with you all soon.

While the league has set a date, they haven’t come to a formal agreement with the USL Players Association yet. Here is the USLPA’s statement on the news:

That point is huge — without an agreement with players, the season can’t resume. MLS is going through a similar process, with an agreement with their players reached Wednesday, and have yet to formally announce their return to play plan. USL, meanwhile, have set the date but need to forge an agreement with the players to be able to stick to July 11.

Having said all of that, Orange County SC appear eager to restart the season, with team owner James Keston tangibly excited by Thursday’s news in a team statement.

“Today’s vote by the USL owners is a strong statement of our desire to return to play this season as a dynamic and rapidly growing League,” said Keston. “A number of steps still remain in order to move forward officially this season, most importantly an agreement with the players and the USLPA. Our club wants to play and is working hard to bring live soccer back to Orange County this summer for our dedicated fans and supporters. Additional details will be available soon.”

So we’ll see what happens, but this is certainly promising. Hopefully final agreements can be made and then we’ll see what the plan is for getting the OCSC and the rest of the USL Championship back on the field, and in a little more than a month’s time!

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