TAMPA, Fla. - The United Soccer League's USL Championship announced last week that the Board of Governors have voted to resume the league's season, with a tentative starting date of Saturday, July 11.
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The league, which is considered the second tier of American soccer, right behind top-flight Major League Soccer, has suspended the season on Mar. 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just right after the opening week of the 2020 season. In its only match of the season, Saint Louis FC, the league's local entry, defeated first-year expansion club The Miami FC 4-1 at West Community Credit Union Stadium at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo. on Mar. 7.
The tentative restart date is subject to all state and local health department guidelines, in which the league has remained in contact within all 35 cities where teams are located. All clubs, with the exception of Hartford Athletic FC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, have played at least one match, with two clubs, Tacoma Defiance FC and another first-year expansion team San Diego Loyal FC, having played twice.
All USL clubs, including STLFC, have resumed training in small groups of not more that six players, which includes the wearing of masks and observing social distancing rules whenever possible. The league is also in constant talks with the USL Players Association, the players union, about health and wellness issues, with those talks ongoing.
The league has yet to announce the competition format, team schedules and television broadcasts for the remainder of the season, and is currently working on these issues. The league has a television contract with ESPN to broadcast all league matches on ESPN Plus, the network's subscription service, and a Match of the Week on one of the network's outlets, such as ESPN News, ESPN U, ESPN2 or the main ESPN network.
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