AYSO planning for fall return

  • Tribune-Herald file photo Players work the ball at an accuracy station last year during the AYSO’s Volcano International Soccer Tournament in Hilo.

High-fives will be prohibited and the pitch won’t be as crowded as the usual, but plans are in the works to have American Youth Soccer Organization play come back to area fields in a couple of months.

Maurice Miranda, a North Hawaii resident who’s a vice president on the national AYSO board, said registration is ongoing for the fall season, and so to is the process of figuring out details of returning after a series of cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Everybody is still feeling this out,” Miranda said. “There will be some requirements and were coming out with new guidelines that should help people adjust.”

He said the Hawaii AYSO section was getting ready to post its guidelines after the national board posted a return-to-play notice last week. Among the recommendations listed were common sense approaches such as players informing parents when they unwell and parents ensuring children are healthy before leaving the house. For players, physical distancing would be empathized, more so than social distancing.

Masks were recommended for coaches, referees and volunteers, but Miranda doesn’t think players will be required to wear face coverings.

The biggest change may be that parents will have to sign a waiver absolving the AYSO of responsibility if a player or parent contracts the communicable disease.

“We’re trying to be practical,” Miranda said. “The main thing is getting the public’s confidence up in the action returning to the field.”

The fall season begins with Aug. 1 practices for children ages 4 and up, and games would typically start in mid-August and go until October or November.

Safety and parent participation – either through coaching or other ways of volunteering – are two of the core tenants of AYSO. However, during the pandemic the first goal may be accomplished at the cost of the second.

“We usually want (parental participation), but not with the new guidelines,” Miranda said. “Don’t get that ball for a coach when it comes out of the field of play. Maybe stay in your car when you drop off a child.”

Gov Ige.’s latest proclamation caps the maximum allowable gathering size at 10, but the Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday that Managing Director Roy Takemoto said the mayor’s office is discussing increasing the maximum number of people allowed to gather to 50 beginning in July, and again to 100 beginning in August.

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The Big Island has AYSO regions in Hilo, North Hawaii and Kona, and Miranda pointed out that the island has had a relatively low amount of COVID cases, 81, and that players wouldn’t take the field against opponents from another island or the mainland.

“I’m sure there are going to parents who are concerned,” Miranda said. “We’re not playing against tourists, and the risk is low. It’s about getting past the fear.”

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