What pandemic play looks like on the soccer fields

After sports leagues across the city freaked out that the Parks Department was not going to allow them to get field permits, the administration switched its policy, started issuing permits again and put out new regulations for fall game play:

  • Masks are encouraged but optional for players
  • Face coverings must be worn by all coaches, staff, spectators, and players on the sidelines
  • Social distancing must always be practiced by all when not active in game play
  • Spectators must be limited to two per player
  • All must leave the field post game; there shall be no congregating

Despite a delayed school opening and what seems like quiet streets, Downtown Soccer League once again has a waitlist, with 1,600 players on 134 teams. And the league added its own layer of what they are calling Return-To-Play Protocols, which include among other rules:

  • health screenings before games for kids and adults
  • one entry point for all the fields
  • temperature checks at the gate
  • no congregating: players can arrive no more than 15 minutes early

That was pretty much the scene on the BPC fields this weekend when I was there and it’s an efficient, if different, operation than the gatherings that took place there over the past years. (Yet another thing lost, since a lot of friendships have been forged on those fields…)