Football

No More High-Fives: County Sup. Proposes Youth Sports Reopening Plan

A locked gate to a tennis court.
NBC 7

San Diego County might see kids back on the soccer fields and basketball courts again. County leaders are proposing a plan to safely navigate reopening youth sports programs, called Game On San Diego.

County supervisor Kristin Gaspar will present the plan at Tuesday's San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The thrill of scoring a goal seems so long ago for club soccer player Colin Banta. The 16-year-old plays for Nott's Forest Football Club.

“It's more competitive because you're playing for a rank in the state and you're playing to get looked at by colleges and stuff like that," said Banta.

Everything has been at a standstill since the pandemic hit, except for weekly zoom training with program director David Banks.

"Sports is important. I understand the circumstances but for everybody sports is really important. For the families and especially for the kids, more importantly," said Banks.

Gaspar crafted the plan in hopes of allowing youth sports practices to start up as long as they have a physical distancing and safety plan in place.

“It's going to be an adjustment for sure. Especially social distancing for our team because sometimes soccer can be compact. So it's going to be a challenge but I think we could adapt to it pretty easily,” said Banta.

Some of those guidelines, according to the county, include:

  • Maintaining consistent groups of 12 and staggering their practices to keep them separated.
  • Screening employees and volunteers for any symptoms.
  • Restricting high-fives and any contact.
  • Restricting snacks, vending machines or food kiosks.
  • Sanitizing or disinfecting hands and equipment before and after practice.
  • Encourage to drop off kids, not stay and watch.

"I think because of the current situation, kids are doing that anyway. So I think abiding by what we continue to do," said Banks.

At this point, Banta is just happy to possibly get back on the field.

“You know, we just have to go with the flow and listen to the people that are making these rules because then we're going to be able to play sooner,” said Banta.

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