Return to play: Prep proposals to move sports seasons could have huge impact on club soccer

Many state high school associations are taking a wait-and-see approach about the fall, hoping for the best but looking realistically at the number of new Covid-19 cases that has risen dramatically in the last month, more than tripling from a 7-day average of 20,114 to 67,190 nationally.

Parents are increasingly less comfortable about their children resuming interscholastic sports. In a new national survey by the Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative and Utah State University, slightly more than half of parents are comfortable with their children participating in high school sports, down from more than two-thirds a month early. They responded similarly about how comfortable they are having their children participate in community-based sports. (The comfortable level with travel sports fell from about 52 percent to 44 percent.)

“It is striking how quickly parents have reevaluated their priorities for their children in youth sport,” said Dr. Travis Dorsch, study director and founding director of the Families in Sport Lab at Utah State University, told Project Play. “Although parents held high hopes at the initial stages of the pandemic for a relatively quick return to normal, the extension of youth sport-related restrictions into the summer seems to have parents rethinking the widely accepted model of competitive youth sport in America.”

The decision on return to play at high schools is tied to the return to classrooms for the fall. Many decisions are coming from governors. Some states are sticking to their plans for the restart of practice and games and what is called "heat acclimation training," which is right around the corner for many football programs. Others are pushing back one or more of the start periods for sports in order to give schools time to adjust to new learning setups or considering changes of season for sports, which could have a huge impact on club soccer.

July 16 updates:

New York has delayed the start of fall sports from Aug. 26 to Sept. 21. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association also announced that regional and state Championships will be cancelled due to the pandemic.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors will proceed with all fall sports and activities as scheduled in North Dakota. Practice for boys soccer starts on Aug. 3. (The girls play in the spring.)

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association would review a proposal to shift the fall sports in Wisconsin to the spring of 2021 and spring sports to the summer of 2021. Boys soccer is a fall sport, but the girls play in the spring.


To date, only one state -- New Mexico -- has postponed fall sports. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last Thursday that high school fall contact sports, including boys and girls soccer, will be pushed back to the spring, saying they were "just too high risk."

In New Jersey, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has pushed back the start of practice for fall sports, including boys and girls soccer, until Sept. 14 and the official start of fall sports until Oct. 1. (Virtual team meetings will be allowed as of Aug. 29.) The fall sports season will end on Nov. 22, following 10 days of regional postseason tournament play.

North Carolina, where soccer is a fall sport for the boys and spring sport for the girls, postponed the start of fall sports activities until Sept. 1 -- which will push back the start of competitive play following practice and tryouts until mid-September. (Non-contact football -- conditioning work -- has gone on all through the summer.)

In Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee by emergency order restricted practice or games for contact sports at levels other than the pros or college. (Tennessee is the only state with pro soccer teams in MLS, the USL Championship, USL League and NISA.) That means the start of girls soccer -- boys soccer is played in the spring -- will be pushed back at least a week until after Aug. 29 until Lee changes his order.

One of the most unusual plans has come out of Virginia, where the Virginia High School League has ruled out football for the fall and presented three sports models for the start of sports in the fall for its executive committee to choose from by July 27.  One of them is to switch the fall and spring seasons, moving low and moderate contact risk sports like soccer, a spring sport, to the fall along with others like baseball, softball and track & field.

Of the 51 states and the District of Columbia, 41 offer boys and girls soccer in the same season -- fall, winter or spring. Ten states split the soccer seasons with all but Tennessee offering boys soccer in the fall and girls soccer in the spring.

High School soccer (by season):
Fall: 31 boys, 23 girls
Winter: 7 boys, 7 girls
Spring: 13 boys, 21 girls

High School soccer season (by state):
Alabama (spring)
Alaska (spring)
Arizona (winter)
Arkansas (spring)
California (winter)
Colorado (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Connecticut (fall)
Delaware (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Florida (winter)
Georgia (spring)
Hawaii (winter)
Idaho (fall)
Illinois (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Indiana (fall)
Iowa (spring)
Kansas (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Kentucky (fall)
Louisiana (winter)
Maine (fall)
Maryland (fall)
Massachusetts (fall)
Michigan (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Minnesota (fall)
Mississippi (winter)
Missouri (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Montana (fall)
Nebraska (spring)
Nevada (fall)
New Hampshire (fall)
New Jersey (fall)
New Mexico (fall)
New York (fall)
North Carolina (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
North Dakota (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Ohio (fall)
Oklahoma (spring)
Oregon (fall)
Pennsylvania (fall)
Rhode Island (fall)
South Carolina (spring)
South Dakota (fall)
Tennessee (fall -- girls; spring -- boys)
Texas (winter)
Utah (spring)
Vermont (fall)
Virginia (spring)
Washington (spring)
Washington D.C. (fall)
West Virginia (fall)
Wisconsin (fall -- boys; girls -- spring)
Wyoming (spring)

1 comment about "Return to play: Prep proposals to move sports seasons could have huge impact on club soccer".
  1. Guy Walling, July 17, 2020 at 8:18 a.m.

    Support the Narcissist and this is what you get for our children! So sad...

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