New Delaware soccer club First State FC was set to kick off its inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League in May but a league decision announced Thursday effectively canceled the expansion club’s inaugural season.
“This action was not taken lightly,” NPSL Board Chairman Kenneth Farrell said in a statement announcing the cancelation, which was done by a unanimous decision by the board. “Over the past few weeks, the league has spoken to many of its teams and affiliate organizations. Every situation is different and has its own set of circumstances. The NPSL is balancing the immediate needs of its teams, and ensuring that there is a successful, thriving league for years to come.”
First State FC was announced as a new expansion team in the league back in November and was preparing for their first season in the Mid-Atlantic Conference when the coronavirus outbreak began shutting down soccer at all levels across the country.
“We are obviously disappointed to not be playing this season, but the health and safety of our community comes first,” club President and General Manager Dave Holloway said. “We are committed to delivering quality soccer to this state, and we will be back in 2021 to do just that.”
Even with the official season now off — the league left open the possibility of a less formal competition be staged — First State FC remains active in one of the stated missions of the club: community involvement and support.
“For now, our main focus is helping those in need in our community, as we all navigate this crisis,” Holloway said.
That includes food delivery, making masks for the health care community and even providing jobs for out-of-work sportswriters.
Other area teams in the NPSL impacted by the cancelation include Keystone Conference teams Atlantic City FC, Hershey FC, Philadelphia Lone Star, Torch FC and West Chester United.
Both West Chester United and Philadelphia Lone Star also have teams in USL League Two, which could potentially follow suit with a cancelation of its own but has only delayed the start of the season at this point. Lone Star’s UPSL team is in a similar boat with the start of the season delayed. The WPSL, which includes Lone Star, Penn Fusion, Torch FC, Philly Fever and Hershey FC, has delayed its start of the season to the end of May.
“Philadelphia Lone Star FC acknowledges and respects the National Premier Soccer League Board’s decision to cancel the 2020 NPSL season as was officially announced today,” club president Paul Konneh said. “However, we are still looking forward to a summer of soccer if things do improve.”