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Youth soccer returns to Woolwich

Having cancelled both its spring and summer season, Woolwich Youth Soccer is looking to get back to something resembling the usual routine with fall tryouts this weekend.

The organization is looking to get back on track after being down $80,000 to $100,000 after refunds for the previous cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said WYS office manager Colleen Eveleigh.

“In the fall, this is when we usually hold our tryouts and assessments. So, we decided to go ahead with the return to play: we completed our return to play guidelines and we’re following all safety protocols,” she said.

Participants will notice the changes when they show up for the tryouts, Eveleigh added. The new protocols being implemented can be reviewed at WYS’ website.

“We have separate entrances and exits to the field. We have separate check-in points for each group, sanitization stations. Our equipment is sanitized in between use. Protocols are there’s no heading the ball or touching the ball with your hands. So there’ll be restrictions on that. There’ll be social distancing throughout the entire process, separate places for our players to leave their equipment. When they arrive with their backpacks and their water bottles, everything will be socially distanced.”

The tryouts are a return to normalcy after the organization moved quickly to cancel the spring season following the coronavirus outbreak in the region.

“First, we started by cancelling our [house league] season – we made that decision early – and we were waiting for direction from SWRSA (South West Region Soccer Association) and Ontario Soccer with regards to the competitive league side. And then we as a board came to a decision that we were going to cancel our season for the safety of our membership,” she said of the moves that put the organization on hold for the last several months.

While the cash flow dried up, WYS found Woolwich Township helpful in offering rent relief and help with field agreements; the organization has eight field locations throughout the township.

With the tryouts set for Saturday, Sunday and again Wednesday (October 7), WYS is getting set to run its programs for kids from 8 to 18.

“If they want to come out for tryouts, visit our website. Register online. Return to play guidelines are on there, and we will be sending emails to everyone with the registration check-in process once they’re registered,” said Eveleigh.

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