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Granite Country Youth Soccer Association sets COVID-19 protocols

Granite Country Youth Soccer Association

Soccer players ages 11-18 on select and recreational teams under the direction of Granite Country Youth Soccer Association and their fans are asked to sit on the same sideline, which goes against what the sport used to allow. This change is because of COVID-19. Graphic courtesy of South Texas Youth Association

The Granite Country Youth Soccer Association has new COVID-19 protocols in an effort to help keep players and coaches as safe as possible for a six-week fall season that started Thursday, Nov. 12, and wraps up by Christmas.

“It’s the price we pay to fight this pandemic,” said Kim Reitan, the league’s vice president of select and recreational soccer. “We want families to remain flexible.”

Under the protocols, children ages 10 and younger will meet twice a week with their coaches at The Greens, 1106 Sixth St. in Marble Falls.

One day will feature practice and/or match play; Thursdays are set aside for 5:30 p.m. practices.

The GCYSA is also asking parents of players 10 and younger to abide by certain protocols during these days. Only one parent can drop off their children. They can then wait in their vehicle or bring a chair and watch from a distance. Parents must wear face coverings at all times.

GCYSA officials are reserving the bleachers for coaches and trainers.

“We want kids, coaches, and trainers on the field only,” Reitan said.

Athletes ages 11-18 who are on recreational and select teams are also traveling to other cities to play. The big change here is how spectators are seated to watch matches.

GCYSA teams and their fans will be seated on the same sideline with officials’ tables separating them. Opponents and their fans will be on the opposite sideline.

Before COVID-19, both teams were seated on the same sideline with only the table separating them, while spectators sat on the opposite side of the field.

Players are required to wear masks until they get to the field and begin warmups. Athletes on the field and playing during the match won’t be required to wear face coverings, but reserves on the bench will wear them.

Players are asked to sit socially distanced while they wait to enter the contest.

“That’s a big job to keep kids socially distanced,” Reitan said. “We err on the side of being careful.”