AYSO

The entrance to the Halifax County friends of soccer fields remains closed as the league announced that the season has been canceled. There is still hope for the kids to get on the field in an unofficial capacity when it is safe to do so.

Halifax County AYSO regional commissioner Dana Miller announced on Tuesday that the spring soccer season has been officially canceled due to COVID-19 and the social distancing guidelines.

The difficult decision was made after postponing the season due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that were set in place by Gov. Ralph Northam.

“We have officially canceled a traditional season,” Miller said. “We reimbursed a partial payment to all of the players and anyone who wants it we have given them an option, they can donate it back to the organization or we have also set up something so they can donate it to a food program to help with people in the community,” Miller added.

While the spring soccer season has been canceled, Miller is hopeful that when phase two of the governors plan goes into place in the next few weeks that they will be able to at least get the children back on the field in a different capacity.

“Once we get into phase two when we can have 50 or more people, we have a few options,” Miller said. Those options include having certain age groups of players scheduled at certain times to play each other or taking teams and splitting them in half and have them play each other. Miller says that they are trying to find ways to make something happen so the kids have a way to get out and enjoy the game of soccer and get back on the field with their friends.

“Just having a fun day where kids can come out and different age groups can spread out at different times, anything we can do to get their foot back on the ball,” Miller said. “As long as we can do it safely and legally,” she added.

The good news is that the fall soccer season begins in August, and Miller is hopeful that season will be able to begin without restriction. June and July will be like a conditioning period for the players to get back on the field and sharpen their skills so they will be ready when the fall season kicks off at the end of the summer.

Miller says whatever way they are able to get back onto the field this summer will be free of charge to the players.

There are other AYSO leagues in the commonwealth that are going to begin their season in modified fashions when phase one goes into effect today. Some of the rules that these teams have put into place include having only three versus three games with one coach on each side, a referee and the regional commissioner at the field. That would make 10 total people gathered, while and parents and spectators will have to remain in their vehicles to watch the games, and everyone on the field is required to wear a mask.

Miller said that she didn’t want to go this route in starting up their season for several reasons. She said that she wanted the players to have a feeling of normalcy when they got back on the field because things have been so abnormal recently and having them follow those rules would not give them a feeling of normalcy.

Miller has been coaching soccer for 16 years and is very involved with soccer throughout the ranks in Halifax County, and she says that it is very hard right now because she loves to be out on the field with the kids, but she is hoping to give the kids the opportunity to get back on the field and play soon.

“That’s part of what recreation sports is about, besides getting them ready for a future in sports, just enjoying it, getting out and getting exercise and having fun and learning teamwork,” she said.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV