Soccer is back.
Six months after the youth soccer season ended abruptly because of COVID-19, the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association is gearing up to return and get players registered for 2020-21.
After discussions with other Lower Island clubs, the CVSA board has decided to keep things in-house for all ages, forgoing interclub play for the time being. Depending on registration numbers, this could mean combining age groups or genders, but one way or another, there will be soccer this fall.
“There are a lot more logistics to figure out,” CVSA technical director Tyler Hughes said. “But the main thing we are trying to get across is that soccer is back on.”
Teams, once they are established, will play in cohorts of no more than four teams, with a two-week break before they can play other teams outside of the cohort. Other COVID-19 precautions will include mandatory hand sanitizing and separate entry and exit points for teams.
“All the protocols will come out closer to the date,” Hughes said.
Registration opened earlier this month, and the club is hoping to have everyone registered by Saturday, Sept. 19 so that teams and cohorts can be sorted out for a start date on Sept. 26. Some fees will be reduced because of less field time for players. Registration and more information are available at cowichansoccer.com.
Hughes is guessing that teams will play eight-a-side games in an unstructured format, with one practice a week for most age groups.
“We’ll get the kids out there and get them lots of game time,” he said. “In terms of details, we are leaving it open. We’re trying to not be too definitive.”
Things could change as the season progresses, especially for the age levels that would usually be playing against teams from other communities.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen down the road,” Hughes commented. “Maybe after Christmas the older age groups will enter into interclub.”
Patience will be key as the CVSA works with families to get kids back on the field.
“We are asking parents for patience,” Hughes said. “This is unprecedented, so we are adapting and figuring things out the best we can.”