Community soccer adapts to the pressing times

GET IT: Players from the John F. Kennedy High School and George Washington High School girls soccer teams race after the ball last school year, on May 28. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

As the suspension of contact sports is lifted, community soccer organizations and leagues are doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure the safety of young athletes, the Guam Football Association and Islanders Futbol Club have created procedures adhering to Department of Public Health and Social Services rules and protocols that went into effect on Monday.

According to GFA Competitions Director Sam San Gil, the organization has created a 12-step process for procedures in all stages of the events. GFA's facility has been equipped with a tent where all individuals entering must go through a temperature screening, and entry will be restricted for anyone with a temperature of 100 F and above.

Unwell individuals, including personnel and athletes, will not be allowed entry for even minor symptoms. All facility equipment is sanitized before and after events, as well as in between uses, he said. 

GFA, directed by Public Health, is allowing an occupancy of 25 people for Youth League events. For school events, each school is allowed 22 players, four staff members and four spectators per athlete.

Prior to the event date, coaches must provide rosters, and after max occupancy is reached, no one else will be allowed entrance. GFA has provided athletes and audiences more benches to allow social distancing between groups and families.

"All I can do is work with the parameters given to me," San Gil responded when questioned about the lower occupancy numbers.

Following GFA's example, the IFC has created its own COVID-19 safety procedures in line with Public Health guidelines.

At practice, they have designated two entry points on opposite sides of the field to allow kids to quickly get to their designated areas without unnecessary contact with other age groups. Unvaccinated spectators are to remain in their vehicles, and if they feel the need to speak to coaches and staff, they must wait until after practice to do so.

Both GFA and IFC encourage social distancing and safety protocols among athletes and communicate safety updates through their websites and on social media.

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