East Bay Youth Sports Make Slow Return Under New Guidelines

Photo by Fiona Goodall

Bay Area youth sports is the latest thing that has begun to make it’s return as the area opens slowly to new versions of what they once knew.

Over the past few days many youth soccer clubs have begun to resume practices for the first time since shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March. Once such organization from Orinda, the California Magic Soccer Club, has started to welcome back some of it’s members for limited training.

New guidelines have the players follow several health and sanitation checks and also limits their inaction and time with others. Before entering the field players have their temperatures checked and their cleats and balls sanitized. Each player is spaced more than 6ft apart in drills and is required to only use their personal ball. The practice times have also been truncated from 90mins to 60mins.

KTVU interviewed Heather Shepherd, the mother of two club members, who said she felt comfortable with the practices and says her children were old enough to take the safety guidelines seriously. She also praised the opportunity to reintroduce structure and exercise back in her children’s lives.

“They needed something else to focus on, needed the structure, and really needed the exercise. It’s been beneficial.”

The club plans to alter practices in four phases based on guidelines from the California Youth Soccer Association.: 1. social distance, use only your ball, small groups, 2. eased restrictions on shared equipment, 3. some physical contact, 4. traditional training.

Oakland High School basketball program, the Bay Area Wildcats, has also returned and coach Orlando Watkins is practicing similar guidelines. The rule of “don’t touch anything that not yours” is the guiding principle as they work on individual skills and have refrained from any team play.

Though these clubs have returned in limited form, the coaches, players, and parents are all seemingly in agreement that these sports clubs are doing wonders for their children’s mental health.


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