As most of you already know Football or soccer as it is known here in America is the most popular sport in the world. It is estimated to have around over half the world’s population is a fan. Soccer has been researched and it has been believed to be created over 2,000 years ago in ancient China and there is also evidence that a form of it was played in Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Soccer is now played in over 200 countries
My personal experience playing soccer
Growing up I was never a fan of soccer. I always saw it as a sport that was mainly running around and kicking a ball into a giant net. My friends and I would play it out on the school grounds during recess. There was no real structure to it, it was usually just 40 kids running around chasing whoever had the ball until someone scored. It was fun for us there was not a lot of skill to it.
I did try playing soccer for one fall season and I did not like it. I had played baseball the previous two years and I loved to run around so I figured I would try something different. I was 7 years old it must have been one of the worst fall seasons. Every day that I had a game it seemed to be below 40 and rainy that combination did not make it an enjoyable experience. So, I stuck to baseball in the spring and summer and basketball in the fall especially since it was indoors.
How did I start to like soccer?
I got into soccer over the past few years. This was mainly because my oldest son started playing. He started playing soccer like most kids I imagine. This is by joining the town league. He initially wanted to play because his friends were playing. From the first day on he has not stopped. As he got older he was starting to try out for more challenging teams playing in morecompetitive leagues.
When he started playing in these higher levels this is where I really started enjoying soccer and started to get more and more involved in the sport. When I saw the amount of work and training that was involved at a higher level I really started to gain a better appreciation for the sport. I really started to see the importance of having the right coach or trainer. The time and practice that the players need to put into the sport is huge. I started to see that it is more than just running fast and kicking the ball. There is a lot of skill that needs to be out on that field in order to be successful.
I always saw soccer as a player oriented sport, meaning that there was not much coaching going on. It is not a sport like baseball, American football, or even basketball where the players are looking to the coaches for guidance and set plays. Soccer is more of a sport where the players are out on the field and it is up to them to take control of the game as it goes on.
Soccer and Covid-19
Due to this pandemic that has recently occurred unfortunately all sports came to an abrupt end. Many kids did not get to finish their school sport seasons and “careers”. My son was extremely disappointed that he and his teammates were not able to play their spring season.
Youth soccer is trying to make a comeback this summer, but with some guidelines to be put in place. Some of these protocols for general hygiene and safety protocols from the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth soccer website are:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Have hand sanitizer available for all at times
- No sharing of water, snacks or equipment
- No shaking hands, high fives, fist bump, etc…
- Social distancing = six (6) feet apart
- No player or coach can attend if they are feeling sick
- Sick players or coaches must quarantine as required by CDC/PA Dept. of Health. Can only return with a Doctor’s approval. Must show notice to the club.
- Disinfect all training equipment- cones, goals, flags etc. Only coaches can touch or move equipment.
- Coaches to wear a face mask as per CDC/PA Dept. of Health at all times.
- Players to wear face mask when not involved in soccer activities or on the bench. Player may wear mask during activity at parents or players discretion.
- Scrimmage vests washed after every session. Should consider it personal equipment, and provide each player with their own.
- Each ball sanitized before/after every practice or game.
- Only one coach may attend to an injured player. Must wear mask and gloves.
- Minimize contact with other teams before, during and after each session
Phases For Returning to Play
They also have a yellow phase and a green phase for coaches and parents. During the yellow phase they are allowed to have virtual training only. They are not allowed to have any organized play of any kind.
During the Green phase coaches must inquire how their players are feeling. If they are ill or appear to be ill, they must send them home. They must have a medical kit or bag with gloves, extra masks, sanitizer, and facial tissues. Social distancing must be adhered to at all times. Each player and their equipment at least six (6) feet from the next player. Coaches wear masks at all times and players may wear masks during training at their discretion They must be worn when not engaged in soccer activity. Only coaches may touch or move equipment not players or parents. Bodily contact in training must be avoided. Coaches must sanitize all equipment after training, and scrimmage vests are not recommended. They must minimize interaction with other teams that train before or after you. Players should go directly to their cars.
The Green phase for parents consists of the following. Before sending him or her to training parents must make sure their children show no signs of COVID-19 for the past 14 days and no known exposure. Sick players and coaches must stay at home and follow appropriate health guidelines. It is up to the parents to determine if they want their child to wear a face mask during training. Parents must make sure to sanitize and wash all equipment and uniforms after training. They must also pack hand sanitizer and a face mask in his or her bag. Parents and other spectators are not essential to training and not recommended attending. For younger players this may be necessary, if so they must comply with social distancing and mask directives. Parents should speak with their children to never share water, snacks or equipment. Parents must notify club and coach should your child becomes ill. During games if a ball goes off touchline or end line allow players or coach to retrieve the ball. Ultimately it is up to the parent on the decision to allow their children to participate.
Soccer (Football) has been around for thousands of years and is stronger than ever. If you have never watched it or never really gave it a chance I suggest that you do. You will find that it is a great team sport and can unite people especially during the world cup or Olympics. I only hope that children are able to get back on the fields as soon as possible and be able to play the sport which they love.