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SVFC eases back into play

 

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Equipped with a five-phase plan of return, , SVFC club soccer is returning to the pitch. SVFC is currently in phase three of its plan and expects to move forward as state and local regulations surrounding coronavirus loosen.

According to St. Vrain FC (SVFC) executive director Daniel Jones, it's been a long time coming for players to finally see some action. Since the pandemic's arrival and up until early June, SVFC was stuck in phase one, which included team technical, development, tactical and physical sessions.

Phase two began on June 8 and consisted of in-person training with social distancing and a maximum group of nine players. Spring teams will reconvene and a placement event will be held to determine fall rosters.

"The aim is to get current teams training now, host a placement event and then proceed into the fall season with the newly formed teams," SVFC's return-to-play protocol states.

SVFC has also urged its families and players to pull out if they are uncomfortable with COVID-19 risks. For those who are ready, SVFC will combat these risks by following state and county health guidelines.

"At every turn, we have been cautious in our return and have followed every guideline set forth by Boulder County Health Department," Jones said. "Specific precautions include training for coaches, expectations and responsibility given to the parents and players, hand sanitizer and disinfectant provided to each coach, and many more."

Soccer is one of the more physical sports and promoting social distancing has been "very difficult." Jones said they have struggled to prepare worthwhile training sessions with teams limited in what they could do.

"The game is meant to be played together in a team and I find the kids don't get as much out of the social-distanced training sessions that we provided in phase two," Jones said.

Fortunately for SVFC, phase two didn't last long and phase three permits groups of 25 players with "limited contact" on the field. SVFC has worked to adapt the game in order to decrease the physicality and has mentored coaches to follow these standards.

Phase four will allow full play and local team training, and phase five will permit state-wide travel. As of late June, Jones is still waiting for these phases to become feasible.

Looking ahead to the fall, Jones and the SVFC board are looking at all the possibilities.

"We have begun brainstorming what our seasons could look like based on guidelines provided by county and state officials," Jones said. "Whether it is only local play, adapted play, or restricted play, we are prepared as best we can for all those scenarios."

A safe return to play is paramount and SVFC has looked inwards to formulate a plan that people are comfortable with. Jones said the feedback has been positive and most are itching to resume.

"We have listened to the requests of both our families and our employees and the vast majority of people wish to get back to playing," Jones said.

 

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