As we've moved into October we have had to re-visit our league start date.
The league has had conversations with several people at Cal South and others that are in the "know", and connected with what's going on at the State level.
The general consensus is that youth sports will not Return to Play before January 2021. There has been much effort to communicate with Governor Newsom on Return to Play guidelines and protocols but nothing has been communicated from his office. Cal South, just last week, finally sent a communication to Governor Newsom’s office but I believe it will fall on deaf ears until after the election.
Every indication is that IF high school starts back up when CIF has indicated, high school teams will begin practicing in November/December 2020 with games starting in 2021. The overall thinking appears to be that if high school starts and there are no issues with the spread of COVID or increased cases through high school returning, then youth sports will be allowed to begin practicing in January 2021.
The state is not going to go from closed to being totally reopened overnight. The expectation is that it will be done in slow phases (again). Practices controlled by the number of teams practicing at a time with an increase in the amount of players allowed to practice at any given time, followed by scrimmages and then followed by games. Tournaments aren't expected to resume until later in spring but each phase could last a month (or more). All with very tight COVID related rules and protocols.
Of course, this all hinges on COVID cases during winter and Gov Newsom forming a plan for Return to Play or approving the Cal South plan for RTP.
We are determined to have an SCDSL season and, as stated before, realize that this season is going to be unlike anything any league has ever faced before. I am working on a few options for a few things that may give us some game play opportunities but I’m keeping those in my pocket until I have more information.
Even once youth sports are allowed to return, we still have the field permit issues to contend with. Many schools may not reopen for in-person teaching for the remainder of 2020 or at all for the 2020/21 school year. This creates complications for clubs that use school fields for games. Along with the fact that soccer becomes a secondary sport once January hits and fields become a challenge when other sports have primary usage.
We will all need to be creative and we will need to work together to manage whatever hand we are dealt in-regards to fields. That being said, we can’t just jump into the season. There is always a lot of behind the scenes administrative work that has to be done to get the schedule done, referees assigned and the teams organized.
So, for now, we will plan on the SCDSL season starting January 9, 2021 with the caveat that we will continue to review the situation at the beginning of each month and if something positive happens in regards to RTP then we can certainly readdress our start date. It would be great to be able to start at some point in 2020 but I don’t foresee the state opening until, at best, mid-November and that would just be for practicing on a more broad-based, team level.
For the older teams, remember, CIF is going to allow players to play BOTH high school and club soccer this year so a January – March league schedule won’t impact high school for the players.
I don’t think any of us thought the COVID situation would carry on as long as it has. CA is only one of 15 states (that number may be lower now) that has not reopened for youth sports which is disappointing. But, we are committed to our membership and we will do whatever we can to pull off a league season!