In a field full of shoes, the COVID-19 pandemic keeps finding other ones to drop. The latest victims of the outbreak are the three Mexican teams in the Major Arena Soccer League’s tiered pyramid. The league announced it granted a one-year hiatus to the MASL’s Monterrey Flash and Sonora Soles, and M2’s Chihuahua Savage.

The Flash and Soles are no strangers to sitting out, but their hands were tied this time by the unpredictability of this virus and the uncertainty of traveling internationally.

When Monterrey went on hiatus in 2015, the Soles picked up marquee players like Diego Reynoso, Damian Garcia, and Gustavo Rosales. When the Soles bowed out before 2018-19, the Flash grabbed Franck Tayou, Enrique Canez, and Erick Rosas.

That player and team movement helped ensure that there was a Mexican team represented in the Ron Newman Cup finals each of the league’s first five seasons.

This time, there might not be a beneficiary of all the idled talent. The MASL’s visa woes will make it difficult for any Flash or Soles players to land 2020-21 employment with any of the league’s American teams.

As things stand, the earliest the MASL season could start is January, but Major League Baseball has had three teams sidelined by infections, major college conferences are canceling football, and the NFL’s prospects of playing before fans are becoming less and less likely. MLS, meanwhile is currently attempting to play some matches with fans.

In a statement, the MASL said:

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) has granted the Monterrey Flash and Soles de Sonora a sabbatical for the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Monterrey Flash and Soles de Sonora will suspend operations for the 2020-21 regular season following the parameters to be set by the league Board of Directors. Their MASL membership will remain in good standing along with all voting rights during the time of this sabbatical. M2 member, Chihuahua Savage will also be taking a sabbatical year.

This difficult decision has been made due to the unknown immigration rules, international travel restrictions and unpredictable timelines related to league events and scheduling.

2013-14PASL13-3Lost Division Final
2015-16MASL—–On Hiatus
2016-17MASL—–On Hiatus
2017-18MASL20-2Lost Final
2018-19MASL19-5Lost Final
2019-20MASL20-2Season Suspended
2020-21MASL—–On Hiatus
Monterrey Flash MASL history

2015-16MASL17-3Lost Final
2016-17MASL17-3Lost Final
2017-18MASL15-7Lost Division Final
2018-19MASL—–On Hiatus
2019-20MASL11-11Season Suspended
2020-21MASL—–On Hiatus
Sonora Soles MASL history