April 28, 2020
The C-19 virus is the most serious threat to the health and well-being of the players, families, fans, administrators and Board of Texas-South. Claudella, Debbie, Jessica, Gloria, Jeanne, Jinny, Harmony, Neil and I will continue to act in what we believe is in your best interest of that health and well-being.
We thank everybody for all that they have done to be socially-distant and otherwise to address the spread and transmission of the C-19 virus. As part of that effort, I hereby state:
Soccer play (practice or matches) may not resume in Texas-South until June 1, 2020, at the earliest, if and only if Governor Abbott’s orders and the applicable orders of the counties and cities permit it to occur on or after June 1, 2020. That date may be extended depending on the status of the spread and transmission of the C-19 virus.
The decision is the result of a multi-step process. First, we have reviewed the guidance from the United States Adult Soccer Association. Second, we reviewed the decisions of the USASA as to USASA soccer competitions. Third, we considered the steps being taken by the South Texas Youth. Fourth, we reviewed the orders of Governor Greg Abbott and the counties and cities where our leagues are located. Fifth, after weighing all of the prior considerations, we reviewed the best available medical guidance to determine when play should resume even if Governor Abbott, the counties, cities, or others think it may be permitted to resume play at an earlier time. There are two things we did not consider - politics and personal preferences.
First, USASA has issued its most recent statement on the C-19 virus and the resumption on league soccer competitions. Unlike prior guidance not to play, the current guidance is that each State Association should make a decision based upon the guidance from the respective governor of each state.
Second, at the same time, USASA has cancelled all soccer competitions nationwide through the entire Summer. That means that the USASA does not feel it is safe for soccer competitions to re-start, including the Veteran’s Cup. How then is it safe to resume our play when it is not safe to play in a USASA competition? It may be safer to resume play in Texas-South because USASA competitions require multi-state travel and multi-state participation that may very well be the wellspring for C-19 transmission and spread. Please compare the horrible C-19 spike following the holding of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the more favorable C-19 trends following the cancellation of South-by-Southwest in Austin and the rodeo in Houston. At the same time, this may be a difference in degree rather than in substance. Many of our leagues draw from multiple counties. Thereby there will still be a gathering across county lines that just may be smaller in distance and numbers than the necessary travel for the USASA competitions, but would still be the type of gathering that fosters the spread and transmission of C-19.
Third, the South Texas Youth have adopted a similar decision path. I have coordinated with Chris Delay, President of South Texas Youth. They will make their own decision which may be the same or different from our decision.
Fourth, Governor Abbott has issued a series of orders. The most recent order principally addresses a phased re-opening of certain non-essential businesses. Governor Abbott has just stated that outdoor sports may not involve more than four persons. Previously, he authorized jogging and cycling – two individual recreation activities. There may be no soccer practice or matches while these orders remain in place.
Fifth, there is no choice between playing soccer, on one hand, and getting ill or dying, on the other hand. Just because Governor Abbott, the USASA, the counties, the cities and our internal burning desire to play soccer may, at some time, permit us to re-start playing soccer, does not mean we should do so. The genius of we Texans (both native and adopted) is that we will do what is right.
What guidance then do we have from the best medical practices? I find a medical consensus, outside the political arena, that testing and tracing are required to determine the true contours and spread of the C-19 virus and, until such testing is in place and the test results traced, we must continue to practice social distancing and self-quarantining, thereby limiting our interaction. We must continue to prevent a boomerang spike.
We learn more and more about the C-19 virus. It is pernicious. It is tenacious. It also can be spread through the air. It seems that the C-19 virus can be released into the air and will hang there for a long enough period that someone who runs into the same space can contract the virus. Playing soccer would seem to be a platform for this type of transmission and spread.
We have accomplished a great deal in the fight against the C-19 virus. It appears that we should continue those efforts for, at a minimum, through May 31, 2020 to provide us with the best circumstances to be able to resume soccer play and not create a new outbreak.
This will be tough if the weather is nice or even if MLS, NWSL or foreign leagues resume play. We must let the tough measures beat the spread and transmission of the C-19 virus. We take these measures not because they are easy, but because they are difficult.
Even when we are able to play again, we should still practice CDC hygiene procedures. Before and after June 1, 2020, please follow some basic best practices:
- STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK, FEELING SICK, OR HAVE SYMPTOMS
- wear a mask
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- don't shake hands
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Please refer to these resources for further information:
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization
Pace e salute
/s/ Pascal Paul Piazza
Pascal Paul Piazza,