As Minnesota Youth and Recreational Sports took a small step toward an eventual return on Wednesday, news also came that the nation’s largest youth soccer tournament held annually in Blaine has been canceled amid the pandemic. of coronavirus.
Some youth and recreation activities may continue with “counseling” and with groups of less than 10 people but no games, as Governor Tim Walz announced Phase 2 of his Stay Safe MN plan on reopening the State.
There was confusion over whether the changes already started on Monday with phase 1 of the plan – as Steve Grove, commissioner of the Department of Jobs and Economic Development said on Wednesday – or will start on June 1 when the phase 2 will start.
“We are seeking clarification at this time,” said Todd Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. “…Obviously people are worried and asking for this clarification. »
Meanwhile, the National Sports Center has canceled all tournaments and leagues, including the 2020 Target USA Cup, through July. The USA Cup drew 1,152 teams from 22 states and 20 countries in 2019. The USA Cup draws approximately 25,000 people annually to Minnesota.
“It’s a sad day. Thirty-five straight years of an unbroken event that has brought the international community to Minnesota,” said Johnson, who is also executive director of the National Sports Center. “…We were trying to find ways [to hold the event]. The safety and concern of the participants and their families was most important.”
Johnson estimated that the USA Cup accounts for nearly 20% of the National Sports Center’s annual revenue.
“We’re going to scramble to figure out what’s next,” he said. The plan is for the tournament to resume in 2021.
As for the return of youth competition and recreational sports to Minnesota, that would come in Phase 3 of Walz on a date to be determined.
“We’re not at the stage yet where games are part of that focus, but it’s something we’ll be evaluating again as we continue to move through the phases,” Grove said.
He added that day camps will be allowed under phase 2, but not overnight ones.
Johnson saw the release of Phase 2 as a good sign in a long process.
“We’re trying to find safe ways to bring athletes together, train and prepare,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, it looks like that’s what this summer could be. If we’re successful early on, there may be potential for competition later this summer, but for now, if we can tiptoe and exercise caution, we’ll get there.