by Paul Kennedy @pkedit
The National Premier Soccer League, which includes 94 teams in 14 conferences around the country, has canceled its 2020 season.
This decision was made unanimously by the league's board of directors but does not mean clubs can't pursue other competitions and cups this summer if group activities resume. The NPSL plans to resume play in 2021.
"This action was not taken lightly," said NPSL chairman Kenneth Farrell. "Over the past few weeks, the league has spoken to many of its teams and affiliate organizations. Every situation is different and has its own set of circumstances. The NPSL is balancing the immediate needs of its teams, and ensuring that there is a successful, thriving league for years to come."
Most but not all NPSL teams play from May-July, relying heavily on college players available for the summer.
The NPSL emphasized three points in making its decision:
1. Extending the season into the late summer and fall is not an option because of the reliance of many teams on college players;
2. The re-opening of venues in which NPSL teams play is uncertain; and
3. NPSL owners are typically small businessmen who expressed the need for flexibility in making their 2020 plans.
The 2018 NPSL runner-up FC Motown from New Jersey said it is prepared to play in the U.S. Open Cup, as well as the Garden State Soccer League, New Jersey's top amateur league, the USASA's Amateur Cup and the Northeast Elite Soccer League, which operated as a five-team regional league that included FC Motown in 2019.
In Texas, both the Fort Worth Vaqueros and Denton Diablos declared that they will play in 2020, assuming everything gets back to normal life and sports gets back on the field.
FC Motown, Fort Worth and Denton are among 14 NPSL teams entered in the 2020 U.S. Open Cup and slated to play with rosters of non-collegians in the early rounds before collegians are finished school and eligible to participate in outside ball.
The Open Cup was scheduled to start this week with the first round. Given the national emergency and the extensive rescheduling that other leagues will require, it is hard to imagine the Open Cup will be played in 2020, though.
In a Q&A posted on its Web site, the NPSL said it remains focused on launching the 2020 Members Cup in August. The first Members Cup in 2019 included six teams, four of which have moved to NISA.