Kingston’s team in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL, a semi-pro league) — the Stockade FC — had its season cancelled this past week, an innocent victim of the coronavirus. It’s a disappointing turn for the players and fans and for second-year coach Jamal Lis-Simmons.
“The league had to shut it down even though a couple of teams on the West Coast had already played a couple games (the Stockade was set to begin the season on May 4, with tryouts beginning this coming week). First, the thought was to postpone some early games, but the realization was that a bunch of teams in the league don’t have their own facilities, like we do, but that use colleges to train and play games at, and which are now not available,” says Lis-Simmons, the All-Star defenseman from Highland and at SUNY Albany, who played for the Stockade its first three years of existence.
The NPSL is unique in that it uses college players on their off-season — the league ends play in mid-August — and they have to return to school, and that the league is essentially run by small business owners, which makes for a lot of uncertainty in the face of the virus’s resulting economic meltdown.
“It’s a tough break, but the future is still very bright for us and the league,” Lis-Simmons adds, recounting how the team just missed the playoffs last season. “It was a good year and I was hoping this one would be even better, but…next year, right?”