The Future of Recreational Sports is Looking Bright

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Photo by Miles Huerta

Assistant Coach Ray Ochoa uses a thermometer to measure a player’s temperature before allowing him to enter the field. Temperature checks and PPE are just some of the ways coaches have been trying to stay safe during practices.

COVID-19 has shut down a lot of normal life. One thing it hasn’t seemed to slow down is the seasonal sports that are again returning. Coaches are coaching again, players are playing again, and all while knowing they must trust each other to stay safe in order to keep everyone else healthy.

Players follow their regular warm-up routine as their practice begins. Occasional run-on practices have forced field-sharing teams to begin practice as the other team ends theirs, creating limited space. (Photo by Miles Huerta)

Recreational sports clubs have set up guidelines in order to enforce safe practices, but some teams are willing to be lenient and make some exceptions for their players.

One local soccer team is trying their best to keep everyone safe while still allowing their players to have a good time. Their players are mostly kids from Carlsbad and Sage Creek high schools who, despite the rivalry that might come with the opposing schools, come together to form a hardworking team.

Coach Michael Sweeny and assistant coach Ray Ochoa know that safety is a priority. They try their best to make sure that everyone is separated and staying safe.

“All our players have PPE, we do thermometer checks… and [we keep the players at a] six feet distance,” Sweeny said.

Coach Ray is also doing his best to make sure practices run smoothly.

“Just keep your hands off your face. Kids have a tendency to wipe their sweat off their faces,” Ochoa said.

When the players arrive at practice, they are scanned by one of the coaches. If their temperature is safe, they are allowed onto the field.

Players spread out six feet apart during drills in order to try to create a safe environment. Although practices haven’t been the same since the pandemic, coaches still expect their players to practice hard. (Photo by Miles Huerta)

Players are also required to wear masks while in close proximity to each other but are allowed to remove them later in the practice when it becomes harder for them to breathe. A senior at Carlsbad High School, Jake Rowen, is one of the rejoining players that follows this.

“I take my mask off when I start sweating and breathing hard so I can get enough air,” Rowen said. “I feel pretty comfortable, because, honestly, we’re being safe out here, and I think [that] even if I were to get it, I’m not at a huge health risk, so it’s not that big of a deal, for me at least.”

Although the coaches try to enforce a six feet distance between players, Sweeny admits that it can be challenging.

“I think there’s the human factor. You heard us just say [to the players] right now, put your masks on when you’re close to each other, spread apart, obviously when [the players] are talking,” Sweeny said. “They are teenagers, they are boys under 19, but I feel like we’re doing a great job, doing the best we can, keeping them as distanced [as possible].”

While new information about how to best hold games and tournaments still coming out, the future of recreational sports is looking bright. With proper precautions in place and safety measures taken, players and coaches alike can rest assured knowing that they won’t have to worry about if their health is at risk.