Atlantic Coast Conference latest league to push back start of season because of COVID-19 pandemic

By Official Florida FC

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the gold-standard for women’s college soccer, announced its programs would play a six-match season this fall.

The announcement was made on July 29 as part of the league’s COVID-19 response. The ACC Board of Directors stated the women’s soccer season will begin on Thursday, Sept. 10. Conference members, including Florida State and Miami, are eligible to play programs outside the conference if they meet the ACC’s medical standards.

“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”

The ACC Women’s Soccer Championship will be held at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Nov. 8.

Florida State and Miami are two of the 11 Division I women’s soccer programs in the state. There are eight Division I men’s soccer programs in Florida.

While the Seminoles are one of the preminent women’s soccer programs in the country, with six College Cup appearances and two national championships in the last decades, Miami is looking to break into the top-tier of ACC women’s soccer programs.

Other Division I programs in the state will also play modified schedules this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, the Southeastern Conference (Florida) announced games would not take place until at least Sept. 1. On July 22, the American Athletic Conference (USF, UCF) announced its members will also not start until Sept. 1 . Two days later, the ASUN Conference (North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson) announced it will not play matches until at least Sept. 18.

Conference USA, a league that includes Florida Atlantic and Florida International, among its 14 members has yet to indicate its intentions for soccer and other fall sports.

Division II soccer season uncertain

Florida is also home to 13 Division II soccer programs, including a pair of 2019 national semifinalists in Lynn University’s men’s program and Flagler College’s women’s progam.

Lynn, and the 10 other members of the Sunshine State Conference will not play this fall. The conference made the decision to suspend all fall sports on July 18.

The Gulf South Conference, which includes West Florida, announced it will delay the start of its fall sports season until either the last week of September or early October. Flagler College and the rest of the Peach Belt Conference will not begin their fall sports schedule until at least Oct. 1.

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