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Green Bay Glory has summer season canceled; league exploring fall play

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

GREEN BAY – On Thursday, April 30, The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) canceled its 2020 summer season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The WPSL features 130 clubs in 35 states and is the largest women’s soccer league in the world.

In late March, the WPSL initially delayed the start of the regular season to May 29 and canceled the playoffs to allow the completion of the scheduled regular season.

The Green Bay Glory, an expansion team in 2019, plays in the WPSL.

“We went through all scenarios possible to get our players on the field this summer and complete a national season,” WPSL President Sean Jones said in a released statement. “However, it became apparent to play matches in certain areas of the country in June and July would be irresponsible and a potential health risk.”

Although the 2020 summer season is canceled, WPSL clubs can still apply for league sanctioning for summer training and friendly matches as long as medical data and state regulations allow a safe playing and stadium environment.

“We were fully expecting to hear the news, but we didn’t want to hear it,” said Glory head coach Chad Johnson. “We had all the players on Zoom to tell them the news, and they were pretty quiet.”

Johnson said Glory management has offered three different options to the players.

“The players can get a refund of their $200 and try out again next season, let us keep their player fee and accept a roster spot now for 2021 or donate the money to the team, even if they weren’t planning on coming back next year,” he said.

Johnson said if players accept a roster spot now for next year, they’d have to do some volunteering or charity work to keep their spot.

“You don’t want new players next year thinking the team is already picked, and that’s not the case,” he said. “We have several players who are starting their lives now, so we’re not going to return everybody next season – I knew that before this season was supposed to start. It will still pay to have tryouts. It might help us to build a reserve squad as well.”

Johnson said the team is putting out a survey to the players to gauge interest in playing some friendly matches this summer.

The WPSL is also exploring options for a fall season that would fill the void of the canceled summer season and create an environment for players to return to competitive play before the end of the calendar year.

If the fall season were to take place, it would supplement the potential cancellation of the traditional collegiate season, which takes place nationally during the fall semester.

Seventy percent of WPSL players are active collegiate athletes.

“Should the college seasons be postponed to the late fall or spring semester, the WPSL is in prime position to provide a structured platform for student-athletes to continue to train and compete in a competitive environment to be properly prepared for their upcoming collegiate seasons,” WPSL Commissioner Rich Sparling said. “However, we do not expect a decision for the next 30-60 days.”

Johnson said he thinks a WPSL fall season is a reach.

“If they are canceling or postponing this fall’s NCAA season, I’d be curious to know why the WPSL would be allowed to play,” he said. “Now we can plan – we know what’s been decided, and we can move forward.”

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