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YOUTH SOCCER: Marshall United Soccer Association cancels summer season

MARSHALL — Every year, thousands of youth in the state – as well as their families – depend on sporting events and other activities to keep themselves occupied, especially throughout the summer months.

This year is different, however. After the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through the high school and collegiate spring sports seasons, it is making its way into the summer sports, already canceling legion baseball in Minnesota. Last week, it was soccer that was affected, as the Marshall United Soccer Association (MUSA) Board of Directors announced the cancellation of the 2020 spring/summer season.

“It’s a difficult decision and not an easy one to make, but with how our club works with the travel that we do, it just wouldn’t be safe,” MUSA President David Voigt said.

Voigt added that practices were supposed to begin the first week of April, with the travel season wrapping up in July. He said the Board of Directors met recently with hopes of starting by June 1, but Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s recent announcement regarding youth sports derailed those plans.

“Our Board of Directors meet once a month and one of the topics discussed in the last meeting was returning to play. We had originally set a date to return on June 1, but when the governor addressed that youth sports were not happening by then, we voted unanimously to cancel the season,” Voigt said. “We’re withdrawing from the travel league, but we’re hoping to have a different setup with smaller-sized games and to be able to stay within Marshall.”

As for the financial impact, MUSA will give full refunds for every player registration fee that has been paid, which will be distributed via credit card reimbursement or check this week. Marshall United is also incurring some costs from the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA), who is not refunding the player activation fees back to the Club which roughly totals to about $1,500.

Voigt said MUSA is currently accepting donations to help offset the costs and that families or anyone can visit the donation page at https://go.teamsnap.com/forms/230876.

Throughout the summer, Voigt said players can still work on drills such as dribbling by themselves and they are working on providing virtual workouts for players.

“They can do a lot of individual dribbling or if nobody is at the park, they can try and get shots on the goals. It’s all about getting touches with the soccer ball,” Voigt said. “We’re working on virtual platforms that have individual drills, it’s just a matter of finding one that is appropriate for our club.”

Voigt added they are still hoping to hold a modified league with smaller-sized games of 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 this summer. Voigt said at this time, there is no start date to a potential modified season until it is safe to do so for both fans and players.

“We’re hoping that we would have spectators (at the games) and that they would adhere to the social distancing protocols,” Voigt said. “We’re hoping to have some sort of soccer season in Marshall this summer.”

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