The Otters may return to Boone

The Tri-Cities Otters stand with members of the High Country Soccer Association for a game against the Tobacco Road FC before their game last July 9 at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. The Boone Area Sports Commission would like to bring the Otters back for a 2020 game.

BOONE — The Boone Area Sports Commission has helped bring several events to Watauga County.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has put the commission’s current plans on hold. The commission’s director, Roachel Laney, said the organization has some plans it would like to follow through with, but the restrictions brought on by the virus is putting them into jeopardy.

“We’re at a standstill,” Laney said. “We’re no different than what’s going on in college athletics or high school athletics. They’ve suspended everything and so right now we’ve done the same thing with our sports commission events.”

The commission helped bring the Southern Conference Wrestling Championships to Boone on March 8 at the Holmes Center. But the commission also saw the Boone Roundball Classic canceled.

“Luckily we got through the wrestling that we were helping with,” Laney said. “What it has done is it’s eliminated the Basketball Classic that was coming in right now. It’s also got on hold, we’re not sure about baseball yet — the Will Dicus Tournament. We’ve had some fundraising projects that were with Special Olympics that we’ve had to postpone. A lot of things right now we’re just sitting and waiting to see whether we can host things or not. Everything is just on hold.”

One event that Laney would like to see remain is the King of the Mountain soccer tournament, which is scheduled for May 16-17 at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. The tournament is put on by the High Country Soccer Association and receives help from the Boone Area Sports Commission.

“We don’t know right now about soccer,” Laney said. “It’s scheduled to take place in June. A lot of things right now we’re just sitting and waiting to see whether we can host things or not. Everything is just on hold.”

Laney said the commission has a verbal agreement with the Tri-Cities Otters soccer team to return to Boone to play an exhibition semipro game in the summer. The Otters, a semipro team that plays in the United Soccer League, are based in Johnson City, Tenn. The Otters played an exhibition game at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex against Tobacco Road FC, which plays out of Durham last summer, to a big crowd last July.

Laney would like to see the Otters return, but much of that will depend on what happens to their regular-season schedule.

“We have an agreement that they will come back, but I don’t know right now,” Laney said. “Their season starts at the end of May and the first of June and whether or not if they will start at their usual time or not, we just don’t know yet. We don’t know what this will do to their summer schedule.”

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