Some action at the Peter Collins Soccer Park. (Photo courtesy of ENYYSA)
For the first time this year, Long Island Junior Soccer League teams played games Aug. 22-23.
There were no youth soccer games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In what was a re-opening of matches at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview, N.Y, 28 teams – 16 boys squads and 12 girls teams – played three friendly games each, with hydration breaks in the heat and humidity.
These friendlies signaled the end of the of the season for LIJSL Academy teams but also the start of rebooting soccer games for the youth teams from Cold Spring Harbor/Huntington, East Islip, Garden City Centennials, Massapequa, Plainview/Old Bethpage, Rocky Point and Smithtown Kickers.
LIJSL Academy teams had been training at the Soccer Park since soccer practice was allowed in New York State in July.
“The festival not only presented the chance for our Academy players to return to soccer competition, but provided an opportunity for the league to enact and view game day protocols in a match environment,” LIJSL managing director Steve Padaetz said in a statement. “Ronan [Wiseman] and our Soccer Park plus league staff did a wonderful job in insuring that every attending player-family felt welcome and safe.”
Wiseman, the LIJSL Academy director added, “Everything went fine. We’ve seen lots of happy players and parents have been very thankful to us for doing this event.”
The following protocols were followed:
* Teams arrived 45-60 minutes prior to their first game to allow for the check-in process.
* Coaches checked in their players as they arrived and completed the Covid Tracking Contact Sheet.
* Soccer Park staff had temperature guns to take temperatures of all those entering the park.
* Players practiced social distancing while they were waiting in their prep area.
* Spectators wore masks as did their children when they were not playing.
* No post-game handshakes.
“This weekend has been great! I was here all day yesterday with the boys and here all day today with the girls,” Massapequa Soccer Club director of coaching Paul Bigilin said in a statement. “One parent per child is working fine so that we can return to playing games. Happy to be here after such a long layoff!”
The Peter Collins Soccer Park, the home of soccer games since the 1980s, is named after the U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer and late LIJSL president.