Letter from Kevin Payne regarding COVID-19; suspension of soccer activities now through April 30
March 30, 2020
We hope all of you and your families, and those close to you, are healthy and safe as we all try to navigate these troubled times. Please be sure to practice good physical distancing (the new preferred term!), carefully wash your hands and face every time you return from a trip out of your home, and as often as possible while out, and be very careful to avoid crowds. Following these simple steps now will make a big difference in the near future as we all work together to reduce the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak.
As you know, we took the unusual step of suspending all soccer activities under our jurisdiction, originally through Easter. In consideration of the latest guidance from the federal government, we are extending that suspension through April 30. We believe this is a very important time in our battle to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and are convinced that a more rigorous approach now will make a big difference. We will review medical and public health guidance later in April and provide updates at that time. While we all hope to return to play as soon as possible, the health and safety of our players, parents, referees and team staff are our number one priority.
At this time, we have made no definitive decisions about our various regional and national events. We are speaking with our leagues and clubs daily and will be guided largely by what they believe will make the most sense given the many challenges you are all facing. We are studying potential alternatives to our normal event formats in case a different approach might make more sense for our members. We also are in contact with our college recruiting partner to understand what they are hearing from college coaches about their plans to look at players.
Virtually all of our league partners have told us they are intent on completing their spring seasons, even though that might mean playing league games into July. We know that many clubs are being asked about refunds by concerned parents. We believe until a return-to-play date is established, and leagues agree on what will happen with the spring season, discussion of refunds is premature.
I've guided businesses through some very challenging times before, including the tech bubble bursting, post-9/11, and the 2009 global financial collapse. The situation we are now in is as bad as any of those times – maybe worse in some ways, given the uncertainty. But we cannot take counsel of our fears.
What I can tell you about each of those challenges is that while there were moments of great despair, when it looked like there was no clear way forward, our country and our sport ended up coming out of those difficult times stronger than ever. We did that by not giving in to our fears. By remaining determined and hopeful. By never losing sight of the fact that better days are ahead if we remain strong. Most of all, we did it by remembering that we are all bound together, and that working together we can meet any challenge.
US Club Soccer stands ready to help each of you in any way we are able. Our outstanding staff are all working – remotely, of course! – and available for you to reach out to at any time. We are all in this together!
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of US Club Soccer, we wish all of you good health and speedy return to normalcy.