Arizona Soccer Association to resume activities with new guidelines

May 14, 2020, 4:25 AM | Updated: 7:15 am
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)...
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Soccer Association has announced the resumption of all sanctioned activities after Friday.

Due to the coronavirus, the ASA has developed return-to-play guidelines that will be implemented over four phases beginning with phase one on Saturday.

While many young athletes are excited to return to play, there may be some that are apprehensive.

The ASA has communicated to teams that if a player, parent or family are not comfortable returning to play, they should not return until they are comfortable to do so.

“We must demonstrate respect and courtesy for everyone’s feelings during this time and ensure that we provide a safe environment as we return to play,” Rick Kelsey, CEO of the Arizona Soccer Association, said.

Implementing the return-to-play guidelines will require a cooperative relationship between the club, coach, parent and player. While the club and coach must create a safe environment, parents must make the decision for their child to return to play.

Players will also be responsible to follow and respect the social distancing requirements and contact guidelines that have been established.

Trey Thompson coaches for Real Salt Lake Arizona, one of the many competitive travel clubs in the Valley. He has taught his team virtually for the past two months.

“It was basically all virtual training and virtual conversations trying to stay engaged with the team, but it’s been very difficult to keep everyone on the same page,” Thompson said.

During their virtual sessions, Thompson’s team trained independently, but also focused on other aspects of the sport.

“We’ve done a lot of mental, educational courses and things like that on the Zoom calls that we’ve done to train the athlete in different ways because physically we’re not able to do as much,” Thompson told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

Arizona has a large number of club soccer teams that travel the country competing against other athletes for a bigger goal.

That goal is getting to the next level of play.

Thompson coaches 15 and 16-year-old boys and girls teams for RSL Arizona. The club is affiliated with  the Major League Soccer team from Salt Lake City, Utah, and hopes to showcase their players for college coaches and some professional scouts.

These tournaments are nationwide, but due to coronavirus it’s unclear if many will go on in return limiting the amount of exposure some young Arizona soccer players will get.

“One of our biggest, main showcases is at the end of July called the ‘Surf Cup’, obviously California has been hit so much harder than we have,” Thompson added. “So, we don’t know whether or not the kids are going to be able to travel.”

The ASA’s return-to-play guidelines were created in hopes of getting young soccer players back on the field to play a sport they love in the safest way possible.

The association, just as Gov. Doug Ducey has said, wants people to know just because they are allowed to participate doesn’t mean they have to.

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Arizona Soccer Association to resume activities with new guidelines