COVID-19 AND IT’S IMPACT ON YOUTH SOCCER .

As of December 16 2020, the numbers across North America continue to skyrocket. From college campuses to small towns located in the middle of no-place and the big cities, Covid-19 cases are increasing way faster than worldwide experts expected. 

Like we just said, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise at an alarmin speed, America’s youth soccer clubs are still playing games in all 50 states. However, just recently, a large portion of youth soccer teams are withdrawing from organized soccer showcases and tournaments.

Is it safe for youth soccer players to participate in organized soccer events as COVID-19 spikes around the nation? Studies from three major universities show low rates of Covid-19 transmission on the soccer field, but the reports pin-point that the gatherings at these events are a critical source of potential spread.

More than 300 youth soccer teams from 86 different youth soccer clubs was scheduled to play at the Visit Raleigh Girls Showcase two weekends ago in Wake County, NC.

At the start of the month of December, North Carolina reached a new record in daily Coronavirus cases with more than 161,00 new cases reported. The showcase was cancelled.

The city of Phoenix (AZ) cancelled all youth sports tournaments in the city limits until the number of reported COVID-19 cases and community spread of the virus decreases significantly. This was 2 weeks ago and the rule is still in place.

Let’s take a look at another state: “California”, where youth soccer tournaments are still not permitted, but in states that have a higher rate of Covid-19 cases like Texas and Florida, there are a lot fewer restrictions.

Does California have more cases of Coronavirus than Florida and Texas where youth soccer tournaments are being played? California is the largest state in the US with 40 million residents and is also the nation’s most populous state. its population is much larger than that of Texas (nearly 30 million) and third-place Florida (over 20 million), but California does not have the highest number of COVID-19 cases proportionately. Not even close to Texas or Florida.

  • Florida has 1,134,375 confirmed COVID-19 cases. (Population on 20+M)
  • Texas has 1,493,857 confirmed COVID-19 cases. (Population of 29+M)
  • California has 1,620,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases. (Population of 40M)

However in Florida there are a few isolated cases of shutdowns, Polk County Public Schools temporarily suspended all student-athlete programs in order to limit the spread of the virus, officials announced Tuesday.

Even if Florida is taking the pandemic very lightly, US Youth Soccer has announced the postponement of the USYS National League tournament that was scheduled for January 2021.

The competition was scheduled to take place January 15-17 in Sarasota, Florida, but will not be held as planned due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

On the other side of the ocean, very similar to California we have Germany that trails its Euro- neighbors United Kingdom, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain with way fewer cases but with 1,400,000 total cases of Coronavirus and a total of 23,000 fatalities, the country is once again in a hard lockdown starting today December 16.

Today in Germany all non-essential stores will close, parents will keep kids home from school, and offices around the country will also close. Boarders, airports and naval ports will have very high levels of entry restrictions put in place. Thus till January 10th 2021 in order to stop the exponential spread of COVID-19 among the population. Youth soccer has also been called off and only the professionals are playing with Bundesliga’s matches still on schedule in empty stadiums!

NCAA Recruiting Rescheduled To Spring 2021:

The NCAA announced this week an extension to the recruiting “Dead- Period” up to April 15.

Although the NCAA does not track coronavirus cases at U.S (it’s bad for business). Nearly every College and University athletic department is however collecting data, even if they’re not required to report cases.

Tens of thousands of Coronavirus cases have lashed across University campuses. This according to a New York Times article, as of last week, California colleges have seen over 9,000 cases of Covid-19 confirmed, with nearly 2,000 of the cases in just one location (SDSU).

Florida has nearly 19,000 cases with 2,000 cases at FSU. Texas beats every state with a whopping 30,000+ Covid-19 confirmed cases with Texas A&M University accounting for nearly 3,000 of them.

Back to Youth Soccer…
U.S. Soccer COVID-19 Relief Funds for Members:

Due to the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic U.S. Soccer will dedicate funds earmarked for this year’s Innovate to Grow Fund to U.S. Soccer members in need through an application process.

The Innovate to Grow funds were originally slated to be awarded to members through a competitive grant process in Fall of 2020. Given that the United States and our soccer community are still in the throes of the pandemic, the funds have now been diverted to COVID-19 relief.

All U.S. Soccer members in good standing, except for professional leagues, are eligible to apply for funds. U.S. Soccer will provide a range from $7,500 to a maximum of $15,000 per member depending on the organization’s size and revenue loss due to COVID-19.

It’s just a drop in the ocean for youth soccer clubs with 10 teams or more, but at least it’s something coming from the federation!

High School Soccer? Debates are roiling across the country over the role that high school sports should play as schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
On the west coast, states such as California and Oregon have postponed all high school sports until 2021. New Jersey and Oklahoma, high school sports are underway with strict restrictions.

9 states had no high school soccer seasons and another 6 shutdown during…
On Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced increased mitigation efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. High school sports will be paused from Saturday, December 12.

Research:
The University of Wisconsin partnered with the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), to collect data regarding the incidence of COVID-19 among youth soccer participants and the risk mitigation procedures being utilized among youth soccer organizations.

These findings suggest that the incidence of COVID-19 among youth soccer athletes after reinitiating participation is relatively low. The number of cases per 100,000 players reported by the participant clubs are lower than those reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children during the same time period. Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that COVID-19 is dangerous and continues to spread throughout the country.

TO BE CONTINUED!



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