Throughout July, events have begun to slowly return in the club soccer space in the United States. Various states have relaxed some of the quarantine guidelines and youth sports have been permitted under certain guidance.
A few weeks ago, we saw the new normal of college coaches spread out on the sideline wearing masks while scouting a high level youth soccer game. Division I and Division II coaches are still in the recruiting dead period for another month, but Division III, NAIA, and junior college coaches have begun to organize the notebooks and dust off the old lawn chair in hopes of finding the next gem in the sea of players.
August is likely to see a major uptick in events. Penn Fusion hosted the 2nd Annual Penn Fusion Summer Showcase on the first weekend of the month. The event featured more than 130 boys and girls club soccer teams from the area.
“I think for the juniors and seniors, it could be one of the few opportunities that they get to showcase their talents and who knows what the recruitment process will look like going forward,” Mark Thomas, the Executive Director of Penn Fusion Academy told BrotherlyGame.com about the event.
The event includes a number of ECNL teams, which should draw the attention of scouts. Next Level Video is providing the video production for the event. The film becomes more valuable for recruiting without the Division I coaches on the sideline.
Jefferson Cup Girls Fall Kickoff, which is scheduled for the 15-16 of August, will likely follow a similar model. The broadcasts of the games being the highest priority for most as these events are typically used as a recruiting avenue for Division I coaches.
There are going to be plenty of other events that also try to follow in those footsteps as regional showcases become the new standard during this time.
The Penn Fusion Summer Showcase and the Utah State Championship, which was held in July, offer some guidance for holding the event safely.
“Coaches were to wear masks when they coached the kids and hand sanitizer was everywhere,” La Roca FC coach Matt Walbruch told TopDrawerSoccer about the Utah State Championship. “Teams and parents were on opposite sides of the field and social distancing was encouraged.”
“We still have safety health checks in place for all players and staff we have staggered start times to sessions, individual water and equipment stations, coaching staff wearing masks throughout events,” Thomas told BrotherlyGame about the Penn Fusion event.
U.S. Soccer’s Play On Guidelines are also a necessary resource for clubs, teams, and events hoping to get back onto the field soon. The phases of reopening responsibly are in the best interest for everyone involved.
With club teams looking for competition before the league schedule this fall, the regional tournaments and showcases will be in demand over the next month. Being safe and following the advice of local health experts at those events will keep teams on the field moving forward for the rest of the year.