Sounds of silence: plug pulled on all GSL outdoor soccer for 2020

The latest announcement from the Glengarry Soccer League officially ended any prospect of a summer season of the beautiful game in the county, as the GSL has pulled the plug on play in all adult divisions.

The GSL had previously cancelled the minor (youth) season for summer 2020, but there was hope of some sort of adult season, perhaps later in the summer or early fall.

That prospect was ended with this June 22 announcement: “Unfortunately, there will be no GSL soccer this outdoor season. The GSL has made the difficult decision to cancel ALL divisions. This includes Senior, Tier 2, and Hearts (in addition to the previously cancelled minor division).”

The addition of the Hearts to the cancellation list refers to the competitive Glengarry Hearts minor teams that the county fields each year to compete in the East Region Soccer League. The ERSL has not cancelled its season, which, in a normal year, would have begun in mid-May and run through August, occasionally into September.

A GSL representative told me that the county league was waiting on word from the ERSL and/or the EODSA (the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association, which is the region’s governing body for the sport), but none came, so the GSL acted, officially silencing soccer balls in Glengarry.

Meanwhile, Ontario Soccer and the EODSA has announced that clubs can begin phase 1 of the Return to Play plan.

Ontario Soccer notice
Ontario Soccer graphic

According to Ontario Soccer plan, phase 1 allows for a return to modified training. Restrictions include no contact and no league, exhibition, festival, or tournament matches.

Ontario Soccer notes that the organization “will determine timelines for each Phase in alignment with the Province of Ontario provincial health authorities involving government orders, restrictions, and guidelines.”

The ERSL has been working on a contingency plan to salvage a 2020 season, which now will not include any Glengarry Hearts teams. According to the current outline, “If we are not in Phase 3 of Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guidelines on or before July 31, 2020, the ERSL will cancel the 2020 outdoor season.”

The hope is that a 9-week season could start August 2, providing 10 to 12 games per team, and running through early October. This is what the ERSL bills as “our most extensive delay,” one of a number of scenarios within their contingency plan. Under this situation, divisions would be assigned two game days per week, Cup and Shield events would be cancelled, and there would be no two-week break in the schedule.

The Cornwall-based Seaway Valley Soccer Club also cancelled its 2020 outdoor season for house teams and the Coyotes (tournament play).

The Seaway Valley Blazers ERSL teams, which play out of Cornwall, are still registered to play in the region’s competitive league, should its season proceed at some point. Currently, the club is set to field boys teams at the U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15 (two squads), U16, U17, and U18 levels. On the girls side, expected teams are U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U16, and U18 (two squads).

Training for Match Officials

Registration for online training of match officials continues through to July 3. Clinics are expected to be run in August, assuming sufficient numbers sign up.

The GSL’s minor referee-in-chief, Matthew Houlzet, notes, “All learning is completed online and will certify you to referee and line games for U12 and older.”

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