Monday, March 16, 2020
Last Thursday, LSA suspended play through today, March 16th. This measure was taken knowing a long term suspension was looming. On Friday Governor Edwards closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 250 across the state until Monday, April 13th. Further, closures of schools, sports leagues and events and youth sports organizations across the country have been announced. In light of this universal recognition of the threat the Coronavirus poses and of the suspension of activities in so many areas of our lives, LSA has decided to suspend all LSA-related activities and events until Monday, April 13th. While these measures may appear harsh, LSA must be socially responsible and do its part to help diminish the impact the Coronavirus has on all of us. The health and safety of all of our soccer families across the state are our primary concern. Below are answers to what we believe will be frequently asked questions.
What does the suspension of LSA-Related activities mean?
It is a comprehensive ban on ALL activities and events (e.g. practices of any kind, scrimmages, friendlies, games and tournaments) at all levels of play (e.g. recreational, Academy and Classic).
What happens if a Coach or Club ignores the suspension of LSA-Related activities?
While we all understand the frustration of stopping all soccer activities, being socially responsible as individuals, clubs and a state association must take precedence over personal desires or opinions. The countless bans that the American culture must endure are all designed to eradicate the Coronavirus by limiting or even eliminating opportunities for it to spread. Simply put, a coach who ignores the suspension shall face possible sanctions and his or her club shall be placed in Not in Good Standing status. Further, insurance coverage available through LSA is suspended during this period. Finally, because ignoring the suspension of LSA-related activities defies all logic, science, warnings, and bans across the country, the coach and club could be viewed as grossly negligent.
Is there a possibility this suspension can be extended?
Yes. Given the nature of the Coronavirus and the speed with which it has spread across the US, there is a very real possibility that the suspension of play could be extended.
What does this mean to the 18U and 19U State Tournaments scheduled for the weekends of March 21-22 and March 28-29?
18B State (4-team bracket) – Semi-finals are self-scheduled between April 15-April 29 and finals are played on the Bob/Open makeup weekend (May 2-3) with a rainout weekend of May 9-10.
19B State (5-team bracket)- #4 plays #5 in a play-in game April 15-29. Semi-finals are played on the Saturday of the Bob/Open makeup weekend (May 2) and finals on Sunday (May 3) with a rainout weekend the following weekend.
18B Presidents (8 teams – 2X4 team brackets) There is no round robin as planned. Quarter-finals are self-scheduled April 15-29. The 4 winners go to division semi-finals on the Saturday of the Bob/Open makeup weekend (May 2) and the finals on Sunday (May 3) with a rainout weekend the following weekend.
18G State (3 teams) – All 3 games are self-scheduled between April 15 and May 3. They can also be scheduled during the May 2-3 weekend.
19G State (5-team bracket)- #4 plays #5 in a play-in game April 15-29. Semi-finals are played on the Saturday of the Bob/Open makeup weekend (May 2) and finals on Sunday (May 3) with a rainout weekend the following weekend.
Are other Louisiana State Tournaments Affected?
At this point, we will resume activities on Monday, April 13th. The Open Cup is scheduled to be played the following weekend. Clearly this is not enough time for players to acclimate to the warmer weather or to prepare for the tournament in a meaningful way. We are therefore moving the Open Cup to the weekend of May 2-3 and it will stay in Lafayette. Other than our state tournaments in April, LSA shall attempt to keep our schedule intact. Should US Youth Soccer move their South Region events, LSA may reconsider a shift in our scheduling as well.
What does this mean to LCSL Play?
There simply is no time to resume league play. Even if regional events get pushed deeper into the summer, extending our league and tournament schedules is unrealistic since many players and their families have long-standing commitments outside the game. There is an option to open a brief window for optional self-scheduled league play, but this would encourage teams to practice during the suspension period.
If there are no more LCSL games, how will teams be seeded for State Tournaments?
Teams will be seeded according to league standings as they sit right now. Pros include simplicity and a high level of fairness. Cons include teams that couldn’t get their LCSL games played because of Regional League commitments have a valid argument.
Will LCSL standings still be the primary determining factor in team placement in the LCSL in the fall?
While league standings will remain the starting point for determining divisional placement of teams in the LCSL next fall, it will not be the only factor. As always, clubs can submit extraordinary circumstances on their teams’ Letter of Intent. In those cases in which a club feels the abbreviated league play does not accurately reflect the capabilities of a team or teams, clubs will be able to share their thoughts on their Letters of Intent. While these LOIs have been part of the placement process for many years, we anticipate their use by clubs will be more prevalent.
What will the rest of the State Tournament Schedule look like?
LSA is attempting to keep the remainder of our state tournament schedule intact. Because players will be essentially returning after a month off to a much warmer climate and because clubs may experience difficulty in filling out rosters, there will be some logistical adjustments (e.g. registration dates) and some rules changes (e.g. suspension of the limited substitution rule).
What does this mean for ODP?
The Memphis tournament next weekend for the younger age groups has been cancelled. We are calculating a refund to those families. This tournament was the final event for the younger age groups. We are exploring bringing them back into training in late April-early June in conjunction with training at the older age groups. The next scheduled ODP training for the older ages is April 19th. The South Region ODP Tournament is scheduled for June 5-9.
Are there any Coaching Education opportunities?
Given the compressed schedule and the fact that coaches will already be juggling numerous commitments in May, Coaching Education opportunities will not be offered until August unless a club can guaranty significant numbers.