London and area organizations bracing for another pandemic soccer season
LONDON, ONT. -- London TFC uses the BMO Centre in east London for it’s indoor soccer practices during the winter.
But with the new red restrictions during COVID it’s no longer feasible. Dave Debenedictis, from London TFC says they have 500 members ranging in age from 7 years to semi-pro.
He says they are grateful spring is here because now they are able to use the outdoor Tricar Field in the south end.
“It's been tough but mostly on the kids dealing with all these changes, restrictions, getting on the field not getting on the field and that's heartbreaking,” says DeBenedictis, “With the nice weather coming in we've got our own facility to use and we're really lucky so came out to practice right away.”
Normally they would have about a hundred soccer players out on Tricar Field but under the new restrictions in red, they're only allowed to have 25.
DeBenedictis says they’re asking the health unit to adjust the restrictions based on the size of their outdoor field. “Even at three metres apart we've got plenty of space, “ says DeBenedictis. “So we're trying to lobby maybe having 50, you know splitting the field in half, 25 on one half and 25 on the other while keeping the red restrictions.”
London TFC is not alone, The London-St. Thomas Croatia Soccer Club is also scrambling to re-schedule and make new arrangements.
“Unfortunately it's bad news that kids got shutdown at the BMO Centre, the practices got cancelled at midnight last night,” says Joe Ostojic from the club. “From here on in we've got Citywide temporarily booked for the kids to continue playing soccer and being active in our local area.”
Like everyone else both DeBenedictis and Ostojic are hoping for the best during what looks like another pandemic soccer season. “I hope one time this summer that the kids can actually get back on the field like it was normal but in the same sense we want to make sure that everyone stays healthy.” says Ostojic.
With DeBenedictis adding, “Having games you know even if it's July, August September, with a shortened season is better than no season at all.”