Pandemic Costs Children Summer Soccer Seasons
While much of the attention recently has been on the high school sports seasons canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, youth sports are also feeling its effects.
Over the past couple of months social media has been littered with area soccer leagues posting their official cancellation notices.
On May 6, Jamestown Area Youth Soccer became the first local summer league to cancel.
“Sadly, the Board of Directors is announcing the cancellation of the 2020 soccer season for JAYS. There are many reasons for this outcome. As we know school in the buildings has been canceled for the rest of the ’19-’20 school year. Practices would normally start June 1. This has repercussions for us with field usage. Only about two-thirds of the amount of children who normally play have registered. Low numbers, along with the fact that some of those registered children would not play, will not allow for adequate age divisions. Coaches and sponsors are lacking for understandable reasons. However, without these two groups the program will be very hard to run,” the JAYS Board of Directors said in a statement posted to Facebook. “The health and safety of our kids and families must come first. We hope that by taking this season off we all will help to have a better future. Our goal is FUN and we cannot enjoy our time together with physical and financial worries. Depending on what the future holds, we may have some activities over the summer. Please watch the JAYS Facebook page for any updates and announcements.”
The following day, Southwestern Soccer Club posted to its Facebook page that it had canceled the summer season and families would receive more information via email.
Last Tuesday, Frewsburg Area Youth Soccer, Falconer Area Soccer Teams and Bemus Area Youth Soccer Organization released a combined statement.
“After many discussions, the organizations of FAYS, FAST and BAYSO have come to the decision that we must cancel our summer soccer programs. The health and safety of our players is first and foremost. With so many uncertainties and the fluidity of the situation, we feel that it would be difficult to carry out the summer season safely. Also, the closure of schools has left the fields for two of our clubs inaccessible until at least June 30. It is our hope that this unexpected break will keep you all healthy, and ready to go for next summer’s season,” Terra Devereaux, FAYS president; Christina Olson, FAST president; and Rich Carlson, BAYSO president, said in a Facebook post. “Please be patient as we begin the process of issuing refunds. This has been a very difficult decision to come to, however we feel that it is in the best interest of all involved. Please feel free to contact any of us with any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your understanding and we hope to see you all next season.”
That same day, Cassadaga Valley Youth Soccer League made its cancellation official on Facebook as well.
“While we had been holding out hope for some kind of a soccer season this summer, it has come time to officially cancel the 2020 season. Due to youth sports being in Phase 4 of the New York state reopening plan, there will not be enough time to plan the season. As I am sure you can understand, a lot of work and time goes into organizing the season,” Jen Anderson, CVYS president, said in a statement posted to Facebook.
“The process of holding sign-ups, making fair teams, ordering jerseys and waiting for those jerseys to arrive takes a significant amount of time and effort. We are currently in Phase 1 (now Phase 2) of the plan. Each phase will take a minimum of two weeks and there is no guarantee that we will continue to move forward without having any setbacks,” Anderson continued. “Insurance and fields are not even available until we are officially in Phase 4. We also understand that the economic impact this pandemic has had on local businesses will make it extremely difficult to obtain sponsors.
“While the time and financial constraints are making the season nearly impossible, the health and safety of all those involved remains the No. 1 concern of the board,” Anderson continued. “With three athletic kids of my own, I certainly understand longing for all that a soccer season brings. The physical activity, the character building team sports brings, along with the time with friends, are all so important to our kids. That has made this decision so hard. Even with all of that being said, safety comes first.”
Just this Monday, Northern Chautauqua Soccer Association posted to its Facebook page saying that programming would only be suspended, not canceled, for the time being.
“We’ve been fielding emails, Facebook messages, and even text messages asking if Northern Chautauqua Soccer Association will offer programming this spring/summer. The short answer is, we are uncertain. Before we offer any programming, several factors have to be considered. First, the Western New York region must reach Phase 4 in the New York state Economic Reopening schedule. Once we have reached Phase 4, where do we play? SUNY Fredonia has notified us that we cannot hold any programming there until Aug. 15 at the earliest. We also have to consider the safety of the participants and their families, because reopening does not mean ‘return to normal.’ Many restrictions have been placed on sports clubs and businesses to allow them to reopen. Safety is at the center of each of these decisions,” the statement read. “Taking all of this into account, NCSA is suspending programming, rather than cancelling, until further notice. We are monitoring the situation and planning for a safe return to play (whenever that is). We will keep everyone posted as to the progress on these items.”
All of the leagues are offering refunds to families that had already signed up for this spring/summer or giving families the option to roll the money over into future registrations.