Is soccer still the same without a competitive game?
Sooke Soccer Club president Robert Oyler believes so, but he’s still wrapping his head around how to keep young players passionate without the promise of a game-winning goal.
“Soccer is undeniably a contact sport,” said Oyler. “Everything we do is geared towards them getting to play a game and now we don’t have that. Luckily, kids can still exercise and improve their mental well-being by running around on the field.”
According to Canada Soccer guidelines, players won’t be allowed to touch the ball with their hands or head, except designated goalkeepers.
Coaches and players alike will be required to use personal hand sanitizer when arriving and leaving the field. Players will only have one entrance and exit on the field. There will be a time-frame of 10 minutes that kids will have to arrive with parents or guardians before practice starts and five minutes after the session ends to leave the field.
Parents are asked to stay in their vehicles during all training sessions, or leave the park and return for pick-up when practice is complete.
Classic go-to moments of celebration, such as high-fives, handshakes, huddles and fist/elbow bumps are not allowed. Concession will remain closed for the time being, and eating at the field is discouraged.
What once usually accommodated over 70 people, there won’t be more than 50 people allowed on the field at the same time, with no more than 10 players divided into each group.
Oyler said they’re aiming for a start by early October latest, nearly a month’s delay from previous years. Registration is required, but there isn’t a deadline as the start date has yet to be finalized.
“It’s been a challenge to plan,” said Oyler.
“The kids don’t have that carrot to work for at the end of the week to play against another team. We’ll have to put something on the table that kids can get excited about, but we’re not sure what that is yet.”