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CYC sports grapples with return-to-play

Late September start to soccer, volleyball is target

It looks like the best bet for a start of the fall sports season is late September, according to Dan Fitzgerald, executive director of the Catholic Youth Apostolate’s CYC sports program. A final decision is planned for Sept. 11.

“We are encouraging everyone to hang with us. We know parents would like concrete answers, but this pandemic is not offering a detailed game plan,” Fitzgerald said.

Kids just want to play with their friends and parents want them to be safe and happy, he added. “We understand and we are making every effort to bring CYC sports to them this fall.”

Fitzgerald is directing people to follow updates in a letter and guidelines on the CYC website at playcyc.org/returntoplay. The CYC Office has consulted extensively with local and state organizations, health care institutions, other local youth sports organizations, and put together a subcommittee to review the document in detail.

In the letter, Fitzgerald and CYC Sports Coordinator Laura Bailey wrote that state and local authorities have released guidance that allows youth sports leagues to resume activities. “We are excited about the prospect of bringing CYC sports back to our kids, families and communities. However, we also firmly believe it’s important to maintain incredibly high standards for safety and health during this tenuous time of reopening our society,” they wrote.

The CYC Sports Executive Board met Aug. 4 and grappled with finding a way for the athletes to play while having fun and staying safe.

District volunteers are beginning to organize schedules and parents and coaches are planning for the fall sports seasons. The current plan states:

• Soccer and volleyball season will begin the weekend of Sept. 18-20. This will allow for a 10-game schedule.

• Practices for these sports may start Aug. 29.

• This season, there will be no playoffs, with one exception. If possible, an archdiocesan playoff may be scheduled for eighth-graders in both fall sports.

• The decision whether fall sports will be played, or not, will be made by Sept 11. This decision will be determined by guidelines set forth by county/city agencies and the Archdiocese of St Louis.

“We believe strongly that youth sports can help us in our recovery,” Fitzgerald and Bailey wrote. “However, it has to be done safely, with the utmost care for the health of our youth and our society.”

When practices begin, masks should be worn by coaches at all times, and by players when not on the field of play. There should be no spectators at practices, with parents asked to wait in cars.

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