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What youth soccer will look like come September

South Delta United hopes phase two of BC Soccer's restart is on the horizon
With BC Soccer's restart plan still in phase one amid the COVID pandemic the hope is games can be played again at some point this fall.

South Delta United Soccer Club is being as transparent as possible as it gets set for an unprecedented fall and winter season.

Following BC Soccer and Via Sport’s Return to Play guidelines amid the COVID pandemic, the re-start has remained in phase one since mid-June with hopefully the next stage on the near horizon.  Phase one includes modified training sessions only with no contact drills and fields limited to no more than 50 players and coaches at a time for social distancing.

Coastal Metro teams and the some of the club’s Division One and Two sides are already training regularly at local fields. All age groups will be involved come early September. The club’s biggest adjustment is at the grassroots level.

“What’s really challenging is with the young ones because we typically centralize our training with them. We have huge numbers at those facilities to make it an event,” explained SDU general manager and technical director Mark Rogers. “So we are not going to be able to do that. Social distancing measures with five-year-olds is also very challenging and you are going to need some adult participation too.

“We have mapped our fields for every age group, where we want them to be and we have to be flexible for that. We’re waiting for more communication from BC Soccer which I know is going to come when they have it. Once we have more information we are all hoping of being able to transition into the next phase to make it more exciting and more fun for the kids.”

Not knowing exactly how the fall season will unfold, the club opted to adjust its registration fees, only requiring deposits for now.

“We decided to take a cautious approach. What gets parents, outside the obvious health concerns, is they get anxious laying out money and not really sure what they are going to get for that money. The approach we have taken is not ask for full registration,” continued Rogers. “We are confident in what we are communicating and what they are going to receive for that so we have taken deposits to secure spots.”

Even with the anticipation of some families opting not to play this fall, Rogers says the club has already reached its adjusted registration target.

He anticipates phase two could include some contact drills, small sided games and possibly regional play against nearby clubs. The BC Coastal Soccer League, which oversees four of the five tiers in the Lower Mainland will be releasing schedules early next month. Everything will hinge on restrictions being loosened.

“They are doing their due diligence and they have to have something in place. I think it’s a best case scenario,” Rogers added. “Knock on wood go into a positive stage with restricted game play. (I’m guessing) it’s likely regional to start. They have to build out a schedule just to be ready for that eventually. They are also ready to push that start date (Sept. 18-20) back.”