Two COVID-19-related changes to the 2020 USL League One schedule: Toronto FC II has withdrawn from competition, while Forward Madison FC will relocate matches from Breese Stevens Field due to local health guidelines.
It had been rumored that multiple MLS-run USL League One teams would pull from this year’s schedule, but in the end only Toronto FC II did so. No mystery why: Canada and Ontario still have in place stringent quarantine requirements for out-of-country visitors, and bringing in players both for training and play would be a huge challenge. According to a team press release, the team plans a return for the 2021 season.
Health restrictions are also forcing Forward Madison FC to move from Breese Stevens Field to Milwaukee suburb Wauwatosa, where the team will play 10 home matches at Hart Park. Dane County coronavirus health restrictions do not allow either full contact sports or group gatherings, so the team was forced to make the move. Wauwatosa is approximately 70 miles to the east of Madison.
“Breese Stevens Field is our home and will be for many years to come. However, in order to fulfill our obligations to USL League One and participate this season, it is necessary to temporarily make a home somewhere else,” Forward Madison FC COO and owner Conor Caloia said. “We would like to thank the City of Wauwatosa for welcoming us for the 2020 season. We are excited to be bringing professional soccer to Hart Park.”
Forward Madison is looking at Hart Park play that includes mandatory face masks, a socially distanced seat map, a more sedate game environment (the USL already banned instruments and bullhorns for 2020) and significantly reduced capacity: 1,347, roughly a quarter of the approximate 4,900 capacity.
“In times in which events need to function differently for public health reasons, we’re proud to be welcoming a professional soccer team to Wauwatosa’s Hart Park stadium and encouraged by the multiple public health measures they’re taking. Fans and visitors to Wauwatosa can look forward to these fast-paced, energetic games while being safe in our community,” Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said.
Photo of Hart Field courtesy Forward Madison FC.
RELATED STORIES: USL League One 2020 launch officially set for July 18; USL Championship unbalanced schedule announced; 2020 USL Championship season set for tentative July 11 launch; 2020 USL Championship season to resume season July 11; NWSL, USL opens training fields for individuals, small groups; USL Championship, League One seasons suspended; League Two season canceled