The Piedmont Soccer Club is going ahead with plans for the fall season. That is, of course, dependent on a lot of factors concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
But May is when planning for the fall season happens and the Club is hoping – along with its players and their parents – that youth sports can resume in the fall.
“We no longer can think about the spring season, so we’re trying to think about forming teams in the fall,” PSC President Stephen Miller said. “How to form teams to go into the fall. We’re taking the attitude where we have to be smart about how we structure our fees for our families.”
“But at the same time, if we’re going to play in the fall, we have to get fields and coaches lined up. This is the normal time for us to get going on the fall. Tryouts for us are typically in May. I think May and June are uncertain at best. So we might have to think about it differently because we might not be able to hold tryouts.”
The Club has about 1,000 boys and girls, aged 5-19, and was formed in 1976. Its spring season was just getting under way when the shutdown happened. PSC offers year-round activities, with most players participating in the fall and spring seasons. Teams are organized for both competitive and recreational players.
“The spring has been traumatic,” Miller said. “We’ve been doing a lot to try to create some online content and try to engage the teams with tools. To engage with skills and team activities. To keep things going and try to stay connected as a team.”
The Club is a non-profit, run by volunteers. Coaches are paid and fields are rented. Miller said that the finances are fine at the moment, and that most parents didn’t need to request a refund of their registration fees.
“We were lucky that most families were able to essentially donate their fees to the lost spring to keep the broad soccer ecosystem alive,” he said. “It really is a complicated time for non-profits and youth sports just because we’re so player fee-dependent.”
Obviously, nobody knows when kids can get back out on the fields. Alameda County’s health department, along with those in the rest of the counties in the Bay Area, has issued shelter in place orders that currently run through the end of May. Youth sports, with their potential to spread a virus, will likely not be among the first activities allowed when those orders are lifted.
“We don’t (know),” Miller said. “We have our eyes on the schools. There’s some league oversight that we look to for guidance. We’re hopeful that some of what we want to do in the summer might be available to us, but we just don’t know. And all the rules with a competitive contact sport, the distancing is trying to avoid that. I think the practical reality in soccer, with nine to 11 kids chasing the ball, it’s inherently not a distancing thing.”