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Courtesy: Real Monarchs, File

Real Monarchs, league target July 11 for return to play

By Sean Walker, | Updated - Jun. 4, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 4, 2020 at 3:11 p.m.

HERRIMAN — Like their affiliates at Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC, the second-division Real Monarchs have a goal to restart the 2020 season.

The USL Championship’s board of governors have voted in favor of returning to play for the season, setting a “provisional start date” of July 11, the league announced Thursday in a statement.

Specifics of the return-to-play plan will be announced in the coming weeks, the league said, including competition format, scheduling and broadcast options. All games will follow strict local and state public health guidelines, including those governing the spread of COVID-19, the league added.

“To USL supporters across the country, we are grateful for your support throughout this process and look forward to being back in action with you all soon,” the league said in its prepared statement.

The recommendation does not necessarily mean the league will resume play on July 11, but USL players called the move a strong step in the right direction.

“While there has been no agreement reached regarding proposed economic relief or return to play protocols, we view today’s vote as a positive step for the league in articulating what a season may look like,” the players’ association said in a collective statement. “Players remain hopeful for a continuation of the 2020 season. We continue to work with all players to ensure that any potential return to play is done in a manner that is safe and responsible.”

Major League Soccer announced plans for a return to play Wednesday in the form of a yet-to-be-determined mid-summer tournament in Orlando in July. Similarly, the National Women’s Soccer League will open its season — possibly the only women’s soccer in North America in 2020 — with the NWSL Challenge Cup, hosted by the Utah Royals.

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