As we continue to endure the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all searching for answers. Unfortunately, those answers depend entirely upon how this hideous virus behaves day-to-day. We look to others like the federal or state government for guidance and decisions, but they, too, are constrained by the unknown. We must also be aware that Louisiana remains ranked 3rd in the nation (behind NY and NJ) in both cases and deaths/100,000.
Presently we are all hoping to return to play on May 1st with an abbreviated state tournament season to start on May 23rd. However, our hopes all depend on whether and when the State of Louisiana determines it is safe to return. As you are aware, the “Opening Up America Again” criteria were published last week. It appears Governor Edwards and local officials are adopting these criteria and the concept of phasing back into a semblance of normalcy.
Before the phasing process begins, specific gating criteria must be met. These are all tied to a 14-day downward trajectory on reported symptoms, cases, and positive testing. They are also linked to the continued protection of our healthcare workers. While generally, Louisiana has seemingly seen the worst, these criteria seem to have plateaued. Hence, the beginning of the 14 days, and thus, the gateway to a phased opening, is impossible to predict. Clearly, if the 14 days were to start today, Phase 1 would not begin (according to the criteria outlined by the federal government) until early May. Even when the gating criteria are met, Phase One will still carry strict social distancing protocols and adherence to the precautionary measures we are now practicing. This may lead to limitations or requirements for parents and supporters of teams not only at our state tournaments but also at team events leading up to them.
We have developed many models concerning when we are able to return to play. To reiterate, our primary goal as a state association is to ensure that we all begin our 2020-21 seasonal year as normally as possible. That might lead to sacrificing our state tournaments entirely, but pushing our tournaments out would lead to delayed tryouts, bracketing, and scheduling for the fall and that is not acceptable. Our return to play will be determined by the State and how they perceive the progress we are making in the fight against COVID-19. We will update you on that date as soon as we hear it from the government. Thank you all for your patience.
Tucker Reynolds, Executive Director
Louisiana Soccer Association
475 Gardere Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70820