Local Youth Sports Face Challenges

Photo By: I.I. Cabrera
Youth sports around San Bernardino County have been postponed.
By I.I. Cabrera

Youth sports in San Bernardino County are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While some sports have already cancelled seasons, the majority hope to be able to resume in the Fall or Winter.

Sunset Community Little League serves the Phelan, Oak Hills, Pinon Hills, Wrightwood, and Victorville communities. They canceled their Spring season due to the pandemic and are hoping a Fall season will be possible.

The Wrightwood Little League has also cancelled their Spring and Summer Seasons. A fall season has not been ruled out.

The Head Football Coach for the Serrano High School Diamondbacks is Casey Maholchic. He says that the football season has been pushed back until January 8, with a target practice date of December 14. What this means is that teams will have a very small window to prepare for their players for the season. “We’re definitely going to be limited as far as practice goes. But its just going to come down to my staff becoming good teachers and putting kids into a position to be successful right away.” What Coach Maholchic does not want to see is the season cancelled. Student athletes have already been impacted by the loss of Spring practices when recruiters normally come around. For seniors that do not go to the next level, this could be the last season they ever wear full pads. “Football is one of those things that keeps kids in school. Gives them a reason to invest in the school, have a little pride on where they go to school,” he explains. In his opinion, there has never been a bigger need for team sports than there is right now.

Snowline Youth Football and Cheer has also postponed their season until December. They will resume their season when the high school begin theirs.

Mike Bryant is the Regional Commissioner for American Youth Soccer Organization region 538, which is the Tri-Community region. AYSO is hoping to have a season in the Fall like other sports. Commissioner Bryant says that the coronavirus pandemic has really changed youth soccer. Registration numbers have dropped significantly. They are down by as much as 80 percent. “Right now, I’m very optimistic we’re going to have a season. But its not going to look like a season like we’ve had in the past.” Players on the sideline will now have to wear masks and maintain a six-foot social distance. During stoppages in the game, refs will be required to decontaminate the ball. Family members that attend will also be asked to keep a social distance. “For the families that use this as their family time where grandma and grandpa can come…it’s being discouraged right now,” explains Commissioner Bryant. Multiple games happening at once will not be happening this upcoming season. Something as simple as parents bringing snacks for the team are now the kinds of things that are being reconsidered. Low registration numbers also translate into less volunteers available since most come from the family members of the players. With so many sports projected to resume in the fall, Commissioner Bryant sees other problems coming up as a result. Sports will be competing for field space because there are only so many in the area. “We’re not the only sport in town,” he explains. But if other sports are able to have a season, even if delayed; and soccer can’t, this could have a huge impact on the entire sport in the region because dual sport athletes may decide to stick to the sport that was available.

On August 5, 2020, San Bernardino County announced that in accordance with the recently issued youth sports guidance released by the State, youth sports and physical education may resume with restrictions. The guidelines state that school-based, club, and recreational programs may resume as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as classes or organized teams, and only when physical distancing of at least six feed can be maintained. Activities should also take place outside as much as possible. According to the county’s notification, sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.

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