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Life Without Soccer: News and Updates for Thursday, March 19

The USL Championship and League One get pushed back, the #StayAtHomeChallenge takes center stage, and MLS begins to air classic games

New MLS Montreal Impact soccer player Victor Wanyama, left, talks with head coach Thierry Henry during a practice in Montreal on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Every day MLS, the NWSL and the USL are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Soccer USA will provide the latest news and updates, examples of what the soccer community is doing to pass time and some recommendations for readers to keep busy while hunkering down at home.

The Latest

The fallout of the pandemic continues internationally as the English Football Association announced on Thursday the Premier League, the English Football League and women’s soccer have extended its suspension until at least April 30.

There are rules in place by the English Football Association that state the English domestic season must be finished by June 1, but it will be extended in this case.

“The FA’s rules and regulations state that ‘the season shall terminate not later than 1 June’ and ‘each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season,'” a joint statement from the football association, the Premier League and the EFL said. “However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to professional football.”

Euro 2020 has already been pushed back a year because of COVID-19. 

In the U.S., Colorado Rapids coach Robin Fraser gave his thoughts on the league halting play on Wednesday. 

Speaking with the Moser, Lombardi and Kane Show on Altitude Radio, Fraser said initially the decision took some time to sink in. But he knew it was coming when the NBA decided to suspend its season after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. 

“At the end of the day, it makes perfect sense,” Fraser said. “As disappointed as we are to have the season be suspended, it’s obviously not a question that it had to be done. It was the right decision.”

Fraser was not the only MLS coach to give their thoughts on Wednesday. 

Montreal Impact coach Thierry Henry said not to take the virus lightly in a message posted on the team’s Twitter account. 

“Guys, stay away from parties, gatherings, mixing with people,” Henry said. “If you have to be with people, keep your distances. Wash your hands and respect what’s been said about it. Don’t take it lightly.” 

The United Soccer League announced on Wednesday both the USL Championship and USL League One will extend the temporary suspensions for both leagues through May 10. 

“To every USL Championship supporter across the country, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding during these extraordinary circumstances,” the league posted on Twitter. “As always, your safety, health and wellness are our top priority. We will continue to monitor ongoing events, receive guidance from local, state and national health authorities, and participate in a national task force comprised of other professional sports leagues and organizations from around the country.

“We also want to extend our support and best wishes to all individuals and communities who have been impacted by COVID-19. We look forward to being back in action again soon.”

As the virus continues to halt leagues around the world, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics might also be affected. Questions are beginning to surface on how, and if, the summer games will take place. 

As of Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee said plans have not been changed.

“The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the IOC wrote in a statement. “With more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.”

DC United’s grounds crew got some work down on Audi Field Wednesday. 

Head groundskeeper Kody Tingler posted on Twitter he is trying to keep the field in pristine condition for whenever the season resumes.

Around Town

The #StayAtHomeChallenge has taken social media by storm. With people being told to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus, MLS players are having some fun with toilet paper. 

Minnesota United goalkeeper Tyler Miller is making sure he is keeping his skills sharp, all while wearing a Christmas suit. 

One player who isn’t down with the trend is Houston Dynamo midfielder Darwin Cerén. The Salvadoran international took to Twitter to say people should not be playing around with toilet paper because it represents something many people need during the pandemic. 

“Many have [tagged] me in the viral challenge showing techniques with a paper [towel] roll, but with much respect to everyone, it’s my opinion that this is not the time to play with an object that many families need at this time,” Cerén posted on Twitter in Spanish.

His teammates, though, did participate in the challenge.

Sporting Kansas City striker Dániel Sallói was on the pitch on Wednesday, however, it was on FIFA 20. Sallói took on fans and answered questions for about 90 minutes and it was streamed on the club’s Twitter page. 

FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon went digging through some of his old videos and found a gem from his middle school days. Dressed up as pop icon Michael Jackson, Cannon showed off his dancing and moonwalking skills to the instrumental of “Smooth Criminal” played at his middle school gym.

The sports world might not be OK right now, but Cannon is doing his best to make sure we are. 

Former USMNT and MLS defender Jimmy Conrad is passing the time by playing soccer — with his cat. 

Conrad posted a cute video on Twitter of him trying to beat his cat, who was a goalkeeper. 

“Don’t judge me. What are YOU doing in isolation?” Conrad said on Twitter.

Conrad was not the only one posting videos with their pets.

The San Jose Earthquakes posted a video with coach Matías Almeyda and his Yorkie with the message: “A cute dog. The content we all need right now.”

Keeping Busy

Need your soccer fix? Well, MLS has your back.

The league is showing games from years past with its MLS Classics schedule. The games will be available daily at 8 p.m. ET on YouTube, Facebook, MLSsoccer.com and the MLS app.

The matches shown will be a mixture of all-time great playoff moments, historic debuts and more. MLS personalities will be in the chat section and people will be able to engage with them as the hiatus stemming from COVID-19 continues. 

On tap on Thursday night will be the D.C. United contest against Orlando City from 2018 also known “That Rooney Play.” It was the play where Wayne Rooney chased down Will Johnson after a corner kick, won a tackle in the Lions’ half, and then Rooney delivered a diagonal cross-field pass to Luciano Acosta, who headed the ball in for the eventual 3-2 win in the sixth minute of stoppage time.  

MLS Classics is currently scheduled to run through March 31.

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