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Rowdies slated to resume season on or around July 11

It’s still unclear whether fans will be in the stands when soccer returns to Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Rowdies players work out on the field together at Al Lang on May 19 in St. Petersburg.
Tampa Bay Rowdies players work out on the field together at Al Lang on May 19 in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 4, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ season, which was halted just one game in because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to resume on or around July 11.

The United Soccer League’s Board of Governors voted Thursday on a provisional return-to-play plan to continue its 2020 Championship season.

The league will release additional information on a season format, scheduling and broadcasts in the coming weeks.

Whether fans will be able to attend games remains unclear, but when the league was considering return-to-play scenarios, they included ones with full, partially-full and empty stadiums.

Related: Rowdies, USL confident play will resume in 2020, but questions remain

The USL Championship season was halted March 12 amid the spread of COVID-19 just one game into the 34-game season. One possibility is having a 16-game format.

“It’s important to note that the league’s return to play will be conducted in strict alignment with all local and state health guidelines,” the USL said in a statement.

The league said it will work with the players union on “matters concerning player health and wellness protocols and looked forward to continuing those discussions.” When training resumed last month, players worked in small groups and had their temperatures taken before entering the facility.

The league and players are also still working on an economic relief package that will determine how players will be paid for a shortened season.

“To our season ticket holders, Ralph’s Mob, Skyway Casuals and our fans in the Tampa Bay region, we are grateful for your support throughout this process and look forward to being back in action soon,” the team said in a statement. “As more details become available in the coming days with respect to fan engagement in Al Lang Stadium, we will be sure to communicate all information and options for our season ticket holders, group and individual game buyers in a timely manner.”

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.