ROCHESTER, UTICA, AND HARRISBURG OPT OUT OF 2021 SEASON
(February 5, 2021) – Following the January announcement of the Baltimore Blast, today the Harrisburg Heat, Utica City FC, and Rochester Lancers have opted out of competition for the 2021 MASL season in conjunction with the MASL’s policy regarding COVID-19. These moves leave seven teams in the hunt for this season’s Ron Newman Cup Championship.
Baltimore, Harrisburg, Utica, and Rochester had initially committed to play a minimum of 12 games this season, but recently made the choice not to compete.
Utica City FC General Manager Tommy Tanner said, “After several months of planning, monitoring public health guidelines, and agreeing on an initial return-to-play date of March, this was an extremely difficult decision to make. The reality of no attendance and the challenges of having to play so many games in such a short period of time under current Covid-19 restrictions, we determined it was in the best interests of our players, fans, staff, and soccer community to sit out the current season. We plan to immediately start planning for the 2021-22 season.”
Carl Delmont, the owner of the Harrisburg Heat echoed Tanner’s sentiment about the decision. “Decisions like these are never easy or taken lightly. We have worked diligently toward finding a path forward which ensures the safety of our players, fans and staff, but with the pandemic coupled with a lack of playing facilities in our division, we feel it is in the best interest of all to opt out and focus our energies on next season as well as toward some exciting things we are working on currently” he said.
For the Rochester Lancers, they simply do not have a place to host games this season “Our main priority has always been the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches and staff. With the Dome Arena being used by the state as a COVID vaccination center well into our season, that leaves us without a place to call home,” said SoccerSam Fantauzzo. “We will immediately start planning for our NPSL and UWS outdoor seasons as well as the 2022 indoor season and we will continue to support our local soccer community.”
The league is releasing the schedule on a month-by-month basis with the March schedule being released soon.
Fans who can not attend live games can still see their teams play with the MASL’s broadcast of every game on https://www.facebook.com/events. The options are viewing single games or viewers can choose the Season Pass which gives them access to every game played during the season.