After having to scrap last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, the Woolwich Youth Soccer Club (WYSC) is gearing up for 2021.
Despite the constant concern over the virus and what could happen to sports leagues in the event of another lockdown, planning is underway for how the season will look, with a tentative start date for the middle of May. WYSC vice-president Stuart Doherty, a coach with the U-11 team, says he is confident the season will start on time.
“I’m optimistic it’s going to start and that there will be no delay as a result of COVID. That’s optimistic over the last couple of days because here the health officials are talking about a third wave, but, with the nicer weather opening up, people getting outside more, the vaccine getting distributed to the highest risk population, I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll start on time,” said Doherty.
Because of the different colour coded levels each region is placed into, where Waterloo Region sits nearer to the season will determine what will be able to happen during a game, and what will be prohibited for safety’s sake.
He said the organization is still working out the logistics – it has the framework from the governing body as a template – with regards to games and what can take place during a game. The details will come out over the next month.
The likes of heading the ball and throw-ins could all be eliminated from play depending on where things stand with regards to COVID-19, and the WYSC is going to be working hard to make the game as safe as possible for those taking part, said Doherty.
Other safety protocols under review include having a complete health screening before the game, contact tracing for all who attend the game – including potentially limiting the number of spectators allowed – and hand sanitizer stations.
Registration opened a few weeks back and more than 400 have shown an interest and signed up to play, which is well ahead of what Doherty predicted.
“So far, it’s exceeded my expectations. We are beyond the points that we were forecasting in terms of the numbers of kids. We’re well north of 400 registrations at this point which was super promising in my mind… it’s a little under where we would be on a normal year, but it’s much above what I expected. I think I expected more hesitation,” he added.