Update: May 4, 10:25 p.m.
Loudoun Soccer on Monday announced its spring recreational and adult seasons have been cancelled, and the organization said it will issue “financial recompense” to spring participants.
“With reopening phases now clear, and the season calendar shrinking, safely conducting the Spring season in any format or reasonable timeframe is not viable,” the organization said in a statement. “Therefore, Loudoun Soccer’s Board of Directors is officially canceling our Spring Recreational and Adult seasons.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Monday issued guidelines for a phased-in approach to reopening Virginia businesses and other activities that have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Loudoun Soccer's Board of Directors' statement said the nonprofit is finalizing details of the recompense program and will release details by May 13.
“The following elements are part of our consideration: As a 501(c)3 non-profit, all Club revenues go to cover expenses, invest in the maintenance of our Loudoun Soccer Park facility, or to cash reserves to prepare for future needs or emergencies like this one,” the statement reads. “ … In addition to payroll, we incur fixed costs related to operating Loudoun Soccer Park, maintenance of county-owned fields, insurance, and Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) registration fees and dues. We will likely be required to draw down on our cash reserves to meet our expense obligations in the coming months. If we are unable to play this Fall, it is possible that the Club will be forced to suspend or curtail operations.”
Original story: May 2, 10:25 a.m.
Parents involved with Loudoun Soccer are voicing concerns over a lack of clarity and communications from the organization's leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic that has halted the club's spring season.
Parents say they're seeking refunds for spring competition, which was supposed to get underway in mid-March, and that organization officials have been vague in direct communication with parents.
Loudoun Soccer, a nonprofit organization, holds programming for more than 16,000 players from ages 3 to 18, according to its website. Fees range from roughly $150 for rec leagues to well more than $1,000 for travel teams.
According to parents, Loudoun Soccer representatives have been unresponsive or evasive regarding questions about refunds for the spring season.
“ … The most up to date information is that we are under a stay at home order until after the season is scheduled to end. It’s irresponsible to keep up the pretense that the season will happen,” Sara Fisher Pollack commented on Loudoun Soccer's Facebook page, “and all you are doing right now is creating a lot of ill will with parents by ignoring us, deleting our posts, and not issuing refunds for families who are not comfort[able] with your leadership right now.”
Loudoun Soccer's Board of Directors offered an update on the situation April 28 – after the Times-Mirror inquired about the parents' concerns – but the organization would not commit to issuing refunds.
“ … we’ve made no final decision to cancel the season, and as such have made no decisions regarding refunds or credits,” the organization said. “We fully understand the frustration of the unknown, as that’s where we all live right now, but we want our membership to know that some form of soccer season, even if modified, will play an important role in our community's return to normalcy … If spring on-field programming becomes impossible, we will make a final decision with respect to registration fees.”
The club's statement this week was largely met with criticism, with some parents labeling it tone deaf and others calling the situation flat-out theft.
“ … many soccer families are struggling right now due to lay off, reduced schedules and income,” Ross Rab responded on Facebook. “Those families paid $150-175 per child for spring soccer – to be played safely – not summer soccer in a non-social distance unsafe environment. You cannot live up to your side of this agreement anymore. So, issue the refund!”
"Do you think we’re all stupid?” added Mark Mogle. “We know what you’re doing. It’s disgraceful. It’s theft. You mention in your statement that you’re evaluating your financial position, and that your long-term interests are a priority. Let me help with that evaluation – you’ll be in much worse shape after such a bad mishandling of the situation. Not a single parent I know plans to return to Loudoun Soccer after this. Your ineptness is astounding.”
A Loudoun Soccer spokeswoman on Friday said the board will resolve the issue next week, though what form that resolution will take remained unclear.