“We are working with the Department of Health to insure that we are taking the safety of our fans and players into account,” said National Sports Center Spokesperson Sara Soli. “What exactly it will be is still to be determined, but we are working on getting teams to sign up. We imagine it will be a more domestic tournament than international this year.”
In 2019, teams from 20 countries were among those playing, giving the event a strong international flavor. This year, international travel restrictions may limit that.
In a normal year, the National Sports Center has up to 25,000 people on its campus every day during the tournament. Officials may not know how many can attend until several questions are worked out with health officials.
“We’re working with them on numbers of players, numbers of attendees will that affect timing of games, will we have to stagger field use. Those are the details we are working right now with the Department of Health. We have an epidemiologist on staff so he’s key in helping us create a COVID safe plan.” Soli adds that even though this year may not rival the size of past tournaments, they are thrilled to be planning for their signature event.
“Between May and June we’ll have a better handle on what overall numbers look like. As you know things change so quickly with COVID, and the vaccinations have been going very well here in Minnesota, so we’re feeling confident that we’ll still have a very, very large and successful tournament, but maybe not as large as in years past,” said Soli.
Tournament dates are July 9-17.