Aldergrove Youth Soccer player 
Parker Scott 
braved the rain to participate in a physically distant workout on Monday, Dec. 8. 
Under-19 player practices are still allowed under COVID guidelines. 
(Brian Hunter/special to Langley Advance Times)

Aldergrove Youth Soccer player Parker Scott braved the rain to participate in a physically distant workout on Monday, Dec. 8. Under-19 player practices are still allowed under COVID guidelines. (Brian Hunter/special to Langley Advance Times)

Coaching during COVID; how Aldergrove Youth Soccer Cub handles it

One positive is more coaches giving kids more individual attention, coach says

Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club (AYSC) coach Brian Hunter was happy to be back on the field over the Dec. 5 weekend, enjoying unseasonably warm weather while conducting drills outdoors with younger players.

“Saturday was beautiful” Hunter remarked.

He’d brought cold-weather gear but didn’t need it.

“I just had my hoodie and track pants.”

The kids had a blast.

Following a temporary two-week pause in activities in response to rising COVID-19 numbers last month, the AYSC has made a cautious return to the field under strict rules that forbid contact and require players, coaches, parents, and referees to keep their distance from each other while practicing.

READ ALSO: Back to the pitch; soccer play resumes in Langley

On December 2, the B.C. Health Authority and Dr. Bonnie Henry suspended adult indoor and outdoor soccer, while allowing youth (under-19) indoor and outdoor soccer to occur under the strictest “Phase 1” soccer guidelines, where players participate in “distance training” with no game play allowed.

Under those restrictions, the minimum physical distance between players is now set at three metres (about nine feet), no spectators are allowed, and teams are not permitted to travel outside their home towns.

Instead of 40 kids together on the field, the AYSC has split them into four group of 10, and they are kept well apart.

“We’re having to rent a whole extra field [to maintain distancing]” Hunter told the Langley Advance Times.

No scrimmaging is allowed, including two-on-two matches.

“We can’t even do that,” Hunter said.

The return to the strict guidelines imposed during the early days of the of the pandemic has been a challenge, but one worth meeting, Hunter believes.

“Kids love to play” Hunter commented.

“We’re doing the best with what we’ve got. Its the old saying – if you get lemons, you make lemonade.”

One potential positive is the fact that more coaches are on the field guiding fewer players, which means “more eyes to help them improve ,” Hunter noted.

“Maybe in the long run, it will be a good thing,” Hunter mused.

“Next year, when we’re back to whatever passes for normal, they’ll be better for it.”

Right now, the club has around 180 young players from U5 to U12, the usual amount for this time of year.

READ ALSO: Aldergrove coach awarded as a ‘difference maker’

Where the pandemic has hurt the club is among older players, the U13, U15 and U16 categories, with some parents opting to remove kids from playing during the outbreak.

That, plus the fact some of kids in those categories have transferred to other clubs that offer a more advanced level of play, meant there weren’t enough in some age groups to form teams.

“We sent most of those kids to play in an Abbotsford program,” Hunter advised.

It has been a year of ups and down for the club, following an all-out shutdown due to COVID-19 for several months that eased, slowly, under a methodical return-to-play plan.

If all had gone well, AYSC would have been looking at a return to game play some time after Thanksgiving, Hunter estimated.

But then, the case rates started to increase, and the restrictions were tightened.

READ ALSO: Langley sports groups suffer widespread shutdowns due to COVID-19

Right now, AYSC practices can take place, but no spectators are allowed.

Parents are being asked to drop players off at the field and leave the immediate area and wait in their car.

An exception is made for very young players, U5 and U6, where the clubs asks that only one parent be available for safety and monitoring purposes.

“Please continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing while dropping your child off at the field,” the club web page said.

The club expects all parents and guardians to wear masks at all times while participating in AYSC activities, with the exception of people with medical conditions.

Players, coaches, team leaders, and referees must wear a mask as theyapproach and depart the fields, but are exempt from wearing them while on the field.

Every player must see their coach or team leader for hand sanitizing upon arrival and upon departure and a COVID-19 Screening questionnaire must be completed on check-In prior to every training session .



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AldergroveCoronavirusLangleysoccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

It’s a challenge teaching soccer under current COVID-related restrictions, but it’s worth it, said Aldergrove Youth Soccer cub coach Brian Hunter (Special to Langley Advance Times)

It’s a challenge teaching soccer under current COVID-related restrictions, but it’s worth it, said Aldergrove Youth Soccer cub coach Brian Hunter (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Langley RCMP are looking for witnesses to an apparent shoot out between two vehicles in Langley City and Brookswood on Saturday morning. (Langley Advance Times files)
Shots fired between speeding cars in Brookswood, Langley City

One or both cars were firing shots at the other in the middle of the night

Township of Langley civic facility. (Langley Advance Times files)
Budget shortfall shrinking in Langley Township

Staff showed council a tightened up budget, without borrowing, on Monday

A Langley woman said she was shaken by the angry encounter. (Google Maps)
Woman shaken after belligerent encounter with unmasked man in Langley store

A man angry about vaccines berated a fellow shopper, a witness said

Jen Papageorge, 52, with her teenage daughters Keira and Talia are members of the Westcoast Harmony Chorus. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Dan Jansen VanDoorn, a Langley volleyball player and former TWU Spartan, was heading to Tokyo for with Team Canada. (Mark Janzen/Special to Black Press Media)
Langley volleyball player goes to Gatineau for National Excellence Program

Daniel Jansen Van Doorn was headed to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before COVID-19 postponed the games

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read