What Spring Soccer Looks Like in Youth Leagues Across the Country

It’s been about one year since COVID-19 took the world by storm and caused everything to shut down. This rollercoaster of a pandemic leaves the future of the world uncertain. Though the sports world is trying to get back to normal, we’re not quite there yet. However, the efforts that are being taken to allow athletes to return to play safely are creative as can be. They may even allow for a youth spring soccer season to be played in 2021. 

Several college teams have decided not to participate in the spring season due to the pandemic and inability to keep players safe. Still, those that are returning to play are taking extreme caution. The NWSL was the first professional league to make its return after the world shut down and they successfully had zero positive cases in their 2020 Challenge Cup bubble. Other leagues and teams are learning from the precautions that made them successful and safe. Hopefully, this will allow youth soccer leagues to get back up and running sometime soon. 

Sports are an important part of younger athletes’ lives, socially, mentally, and physically. A safe return to youth sports encourages kids to get back out on the pitch and do what they love. Youth leagues such as the ECNL, National League, NPL, ODP, and several other youth organizations follow region-specific COVID-19 regulations to determine whether teams can return to play. The leagues also have their own set of COVID guidelines to ensure every event is as safe as possible. Some teams have been allowed to play in tournaments, provided players wear masks when not on the field, and those on the sidelines remain socially distant. Some also require a negative rapid test to attend and encourage players to feel sick not to attend. 

The spring season is still largely uncertain, with leagues holding tournaments as long as they are safe and postponing when they are not. However, it is encouraging some leagues have been able to safely hold events and get youth players back on the field. Though the soccer environment and atmosphere may be slightly different as things start to return to normal. There are no more handshakes or group goal celebrations. Players on the sidelines must be socially distant and in masks.

Youth sports remain a day-by-day, case-by-case situation. But as cases start to go down and more people get vaccinated, things should start to look up. Remain patient Socceristas, games every weekend, and tournaments every month will be underway very soon!

Featured Image via @TheECNL on Instagram



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