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USL suspends 2020 season minimum 30 days amid coronavirus concerns

Phoenix Rising FC stadium Casino Arizona Field. (Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)

USL Championship will be suspending its 2020 season for a minimum of 30 days due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the league announced on Thursday.

“It was very clear from our owners that the health and safety of players, fans and staff was their top priority,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a press release.

“In consultation with local, state and national health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, we have temporarily suspended match play for a minimum of 30 days.”

The announcement comes following Major League Soccer’s decision to halt play for 30 days in order to properly assess COVID-19. MLS’s 2020 season began just last month on Feb. 29.

As a result of USL Championship’s season being put on hiatus, Phoenix Rising will also have to pause its 2020 campaign for the time being.

And similarly to MLS, Rising kicked off its season on March 7 with a 6-1 thrashing of Portland Timbers 2, which Papadakis was actually in attendance for.

PRFC was slated to take on Real Monarchs in Salt Lake City on Saturday and San Antonio on the road on March 21 before returning home to host Austin Bold at Casino Arizona Field on March 28.

According to The Athletic‘s Jeff Rueter, USL would resume its season on April 18 should there be no further setbacks from the coronavirus.

The NBA also suspended its season indefinitely on Wednesday, while all of the collegiate power five conference basketball tournaments were canceled on Thursday.