Heartland Division Exploring Changes for 2020 League Two Season
Five teams from USL League Two’s Heartland Division are aiming to play this season, with discussions regarding the format currently ongoing amid the challenges being faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chicago FC United, the Des Moines Menace, the Green Bay Voyageurs, Kaw Valley FC and the St. Louis Lions will continue to work with the league in exploring alternative competitive formats to be played this summer, while Peoria City, which was scheduled to join League Two for the 2020 season, has elected to push back its official on-field arrival until the 2021 season.
The two Canadian clubs that compete in the division, the Thunder Bay Chill and FC Manitoba, will also be absent from a potential Heartland Division this year with travel restrictions likely to complicate cross-border competition. Thunder Bay has elected to go on hiatus to return in 2021, while FC Manitoba is aiming to play a competitive schedule.
“We support every team in the decisions they make in regard to competing, or sitting out this upcoming season as they deal locally with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said USL League Two Vice President Joel Nash. “We are currently working hard to find the right solution for these five clubs to maintain the competition and rivalries they have established. Our aim is to see them competing on the field this summer.”
“These are unprecedented times and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we have worked closely with league officials and our local, state, and national health authorities to gain a better understanding of the potential impacts this global pandemic may have on our upcoming season,” said Kaw Valley FC General Manager Marcus Dudley. “KVFC remains dedicated to maximizing the development of our players and staff while providing a safe, quality, competitive, and family-friendly environment for our members and supporters. We intend to remain actively engaged in our community as we continue to explore a variety of opportunities to play meaningful matches this summer if the circumstances allow for such activities,” said Dudley.
“As it has from the start, the health and well-being of the communities our clubs represent, including our supporters, staff, players, coaches, partners, families and friends, must come first,” said Nash. “We are very much looking forward to welcoming Peoria City to League Two next year, and also seeing the return of two of our great Canadian clubs: Thunder Bay and Manitoba FC.” Updates on the upcoming season will continue to be communicated once they are known.