Last weekend some local clubs got to experience return-to-play (RTP) in a small-scale, festival-style environment against the LIJSL Academy teams.
The event, which took place over the course of two days, proved to be a step in the right direction as players saw a glimpse of RTP, with COVID-19 prevention guidelines in place.
“My son played in the tournament on Saturday and not only did the kids have a great time, but we felt so safe,” said Kristina Nicosia, who’s son played for the 2009 Garden City Centennials Lightning team. “The tournament was run effectively and efficiently without worry.”
With the fall season fast approaching, this small-scale event provided players, coaches, and parents both the opportunity to get back on the pitch, as well as the opportunity to familiarize themselves with COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
“Overall, I think the weekend was a success, even with the restrictions we had to enforce,” LIJSL Technical Director Ronan Wiseman said. “It was great to see kids back on a soccer field playing. It was a small event, but with the proper planning and prevention protocols in place, it shows we can get kids back on the field while providing a safe environment for our players and parents.
“The players and spectators were very cooperative in complying with the protocols and that went a long way to contributing to a successful event.”
Some of the guidelines enforced included mandatory temperature checks (for every individual entering the facility), sanitization of goal posts and other frequently touched surfaces, sanitizer stations at field entrances, designated “team prep areas”, (1) spectator per player, and unidirectional walkways for spectators.
“I want to thank Ronan, Steve, and the LIJSL staff for a terrific return-to-play event this weekend,” Massapequa SC Director of Coaching Paul Biglin said. “The event was extremely well run, with all proper protocols and procedures in place to ensure a safe, healthy, and enjoyable event for all players, teams, and families.”
Participating teams played in fast paced 40-minute games. Rather than the routine handshake, these matches concluded with teams and officials clapping and waving from a distance to express their sportsmanship to each other.
“I was thrilled to see our kids back on the field playing the game they love,” Plainview Old Bethpage Club President Russ Bank said “With proper protocols in place, LIJSL was able to provide a fun, competitive, and most importantly, a safe environment for the game of soccer to finally be played again.”
LIJSL plans to kick off its’ 55th seasonal year the weekend of September 26 and 27, with 1,300 travel teams registered for play in the fall.
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