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2021 Season Planning and Dealing with COVID-19

By KDMSC Exec, 02/25/21, 6:30AM EST

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On behalf of your 2021 Kincardine District Minor Soccer Club Executive, we would like to bring you up to date regarding our outlook for the return of the beautiful game to our local pitches for the upcoming season under the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.

First of all, we want to assure you all that it is our goal to have soccer return to our community this summer, the ideal would be a normal season with all COVID restrictions lifted and the pandemic no longer a concern. Having said that, given the state of not only our community, but province, country and world as a whole, a ‘normal’ season seems unlikely. Navigating the ever-changing maze of size of gathering and travel restrictions, lockdowns, fines and penalties in place for gatherings in excess of mandated numbers, masks, and more, means several clubs in our area are undecided at this point concerning the planning a 2021 season.

At our Executive meeting in January 2021, we discussed what we are referring to as our target 2021 season. Now with the uncertainty facing other area clubs, we decided to focus on what would be considered a local league, or house league model for all age groups under the umbrella of Kincardine Minor Soccer; U4 through U19.

Under such a season model, we would be registering players based in Kincardine to play other Kincardine teams in their age group; a Kincardine Soccer ‘Bubble’ if you will. We are thinking of utilizing the small sided game models for most, if not all the age groups. Since we are looking at local play only, this would mean more teams available to play each other under a 7 vs. 7 model, rather than the 11 vs 11 model that would typically be followed for U12 and beyond. For example, if we have 36 players register for U15, we could have a 4-team league in 7 vs 7, as opposed to a 2-team league of 11 on 11. That way it is not the same 2 teams playing against each other each week.

This would mean that there would not be any travel involved as a rule for our Lakeshore age group teams, and we are unsure at this time if there would be any Ripley teams participating in our U8 or U10 leagues. We are also open to playing games against other area clubs via weekend tournaments if presented with such an option, but again, that would only be if restrictions were lifted and it was supported by our members.

Our online registration portal will open on March 1st, and continue until May 15th. At this point, we will only be able to accept registrations through the portal, there would be no in-person registration nights available under the current COVID policies. As well, NO REGISTRATIONS WOULD BE ACCEPTED PAST MAY 15TH.  With the condensed season and regulations we have to meet, late registrations for the upcoming season are simply not feasible for us to offer.

Providing that all Ontario and local heath guidelines permit it, we would look at having practices starting in June for the teams to be able to shake off some layoff rust, and then our games would begin the week of July 5th and conclude the week ending August 28th. Contact tracing requirements, screening tool implementation, as well as OSA return to play guidelines will have to be followed by all registered players for the balance of the season, and parents will be expected to take on a more active role in order to make sure the processing and gathering of this information is done correctly prior to each game played, as well as all screening requirements are followed prior to allowing players to participate in any of our practices or games per current protocols.

The cost of our registration this year is estimated to be roughly 75% of last year’s fees at each age level, given that our playing season is expected to be 8 weeks as opposed to 12, but that price is to be finalized in the coming weeks. It is our intention to work with our registration site provider to see if we can have our players register, but payments would not be processed until June 1st. This would act as a preventative measure should the COVID lockdown restrictions remain in place to such an extent that we are again unable to legally gain access to the soccer fields, and that way we do not run into the refund processing issues that last season had caused.

As mentioned, we are still in the planning stage of what the season will look like. We do still require clarification from our governing bodies and governments so we can firm up details. This season may include weekend games if COVID protocols restrict the number of players on the field, which would result in a higher number of teams than can play under our current models and field availability schedules. As well, we would have to follow and fulfill any and all government policies (municipal, provincial, and/or federal) that may be in place governing outdoor gatherings. This may include things such as logging temperatures prior to the game, names and contact information of all player at each game, limits on the number of spectators present, social distancing enforcement, and so on. When we are provided with additional detail on how the season will look, we will pass them along A.S.A.P.

This is the current framework that your soccer executive is working under, again with the goal of being able to have soccer return to our community in 2021. If you have any questions or comments, we of course welcome your feedback. You can contact us at kdmscscores@gmail.com . Please remember to include your Full Name, contact information, and connection to Kincardine Minor Soccer in your correspondence.

Looking forward with Hope to another great season of soccer in 2021.

Your 2021 Kincardine District Minor Soccer Club Executive

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