LONDON, ONT. -- For roughly 2,000 kids, this summer’s soccer season has been called off.

A letter sent out this week from the Southwest-Oakridge Soccer Association (SWOAK) informed parents of the decision not to have any youth soccer programming for the 2021 outdoor season.

Bruce Hayward, a parent of one of those kids, says the decision was made too early.

“We’re three months to the end of May, where you're kind of more than likely start the season. And even if you delay the season to, even if you ran a smaller season of July, August. That gives you an opportunity to get the kids on the field.”

“We were devastated when we had to put this to a vote,” says Shannon Seidel President of Southwest-Oakridge Soccer.

“It was excruciating, we’re soccer people committed to the club, to the soccer community in the city. We love soccer we want everyone to love soccer,” she adds.

The decision by SWOAK to cancel its season will have a ripple effect for some of the smaller associations.

“They are the biggest contributors to those age groups and those divisions. It’s going to be really tough, without them, to put divisions together,” says John Littler, who convenes several leagues in the city.

Lambeth Soccer is currently weighing the decision on whether to return to play this summer. But President Roxanne Persaud says much of the work to get the season underway, like uniforms, coaches and volunteers has to be considered.

“It’s not just turning the light on and saying soccer is going to happen. There are so many things that go into play to make it happen, which we want to do, but we want to do safely.”

Many of the city’s competitive clubs are gearing up for the season. The White Caps organization says it’s going forward, as is Oakridge Soccer Club, which is the competitive branch associated with SWOAK. They are returning under the Ontario Soccer Association’s return to play protocols.

“There’s lots of enthusiasm to get back on the field. Mind you, we have to respect what the Middlesex-London Health Unit has put forward and restrictions they have in place in addition to the government but also Ontario Soccer,” says Oakridge Soccer Club President Chris Veillon.

More bad news for soccer players and teams came Friday as the BMO Centre posted an update to their website saying the health unit would only allow 10 players per field, making it not a financially viable option for them to remain open.

All rentals have been cancelled as of Feb. 19 and the decision will be re-evaluated on Feb. 28 if the area is moved into a less restrictive framework.