SAN ANTONIO – At least local soccer fans got one game in before the 2020 USL season came to a halt.
Wednesday afternoon, the United Soccer League announced that they were pushing back the temporary suspension of the season until Sunday, May 10 to battle the spread of the coronavirus. Just last Thursday, the USL had announced that they were suspending the season for a minimum of 30 days, which would have meant the season would resume in early April.
USL Championship Extends Temporary Suspension of 2020 Season pic.twitter.com/bsITTQzkS8— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) March 18, 2020
San Antonio FC won their opening match of the season, defeating the defending league champions at Toyota Field on Saturday, March 7.
San Antonio FC would have played nine games by that May 10 restart date, including four home games. There’s no word if the season would resume or be cut short when the league suspension is over.
In the meantime, SAFC defender Hunter Gorskie and forward Luis Solignac sent out this encouraging message to fans from their homes.
The beautiful game unites us and we’re all in this together. Stay safe everyone!— San Antonio FC (@SanAntonioFC) March 18, 2020
El fútbol nos une a todos, y unidos superaremos esta situación. Cuídense todos! pic.twitter.com/lRQSQorwl3
According to the USL, San Antonio FC players, as well as players from all the teams in the league, are still being paid during this suspension, which is good considering that is not happening everywhere in the soccer world. Teams in Norway have temporarily laid players off due to the suspension of games and they cannot leave their clubs despite not being paid.
Closer to home, Liga MX was the last league to suspend games due to the spread of the coronavirus. Teams played through the weekend and a suspension was announced three days ago. According to a report in Universal Deportes Wednesday, the Mexican economy could lose as much as $700 million dollars a week with games being suspended. That figure included calculating ticket prices, merchandise sales, travel, television deals and betting.
One note to take away from all of this is that when leagues all around the world do resume play in the next several months, more games could be played during the week, keeping the schedule relatively intact and teams could make up some of that lost revenue. The USL front office told KSAT 12 Sports Wednesday that the plan is to reschedule all postponed matches once the league resumes normal operations.
So far, no players or staff from the United Soccer League have tested positive for the coronavirus according to the USL. However, Liga MX did announce that the team president of Atletico San Luis tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, after he recently traveled to Spain, becoming the first person in the league to test positive.
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 16 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email firstname.lastname@example.org