The Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association was forced to cancel its annual summer recreation league — or most of it — over the coronavirus until the association’s board of directors decided to schedule an abbreviated season for one group of kids.
“COVID has not spared youth sports,” said Angelo Schauermann, a member of the board and a former player at Astoria. “We made the decision to cancel the younger ages due to the complexities of enforcing social distancing for kids (kindergarten through fourth grade) but we are going to have a modified season for our fifth to eighth graders.”
The alternative season will place middle school players with seventh and eighth graders in the Hillsboro Recreation league.
Over the last two seasons, the association placed teams in this league and saw competition close to par with the Timbers’ and Thorns’ bottom tier, in which the association’s classic teams have been playing in the last few years.
In the Hillsboro league, players travel to events in Tillamook and St. Helens, with more than half of the games played in Hillsboro. The season consists of eight games, with additional games possible for the association.
The soccer association stated on its website, “By traveling to these places … we hope to reduce the health risk to our families.”
Depending on the number of teams the association forms and how many players are on each team, they may be able to bring up sixth graders to play at the classic level.
Seaside’s John Chapman serves as the director of coaching for the the soccer assocation.
The soccer association will follow all county, state and Oregon Youth Soccer Association coronavirus guidelines.
The association was hoping to begin practices at the end of August, with games set to start Sept. 12, and running through Oct. 31.
The soccer association saw significant growth in the program last year, carrying four teams (U15 girls, U13 girls, U14 boys and U13 boys) into the Timbers and Thorns league.
The soccer association said, “Our season will definitely be different from years past, but we think it is good for kids to get outside, kick a soccer ball, see friends and have fun.”