The full-time whistle blew on a unique 2020 Terrace Youth Soccer Association (TYSA) today, one that did not include competitive games due to COVID-19.
Even though the season was limited to tightly controlled training sessions, TYSA Technical Director Adam Glass said the summer was a success.
“In my entire career across all the years that I’ve coached this has been one of the greatest development periods for kids that we’ve worked with because they’ve had so much more attention and so much more time to work on their attributes,” Glass said.
“It was nice that when it came down to it and challenges did come up, in a weird way it really got us more invested in the work because we could really put more thought, I don’t think, honestly speaking, I’ve ever put more thought into a season than I have this season here,” he said.
When sports were sidelined due to COVID-19 pandemic in May, Glass hosted a “TYSA Virtual Series” focusing on technical activities in an online format. The TYSA season started on June 27, under a customized-for-Terrace Vancouver Whitecaps FC Return to Play Plan with four phases.
At first, there was no contact or close interaction between players – each had their own box of cones to do individual drills and adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Coaches directed players when to enter and exit their individual box through a safe zone.
Glass was originally concerned that the players in the five to eight age group may not understand the precautions in place or lose interest in soccer because there were no competitive games.
“From the very first day the kids were totally on board, for lack of a better term total superstars in terms of really following the precautions, really following the restrictions, really following the process of going through the screening, staying inside their boxes and conducting themselves in such an impressive manner,” he said.
There was strict sanitation and hand washing, equipment and washrooms. With the season ending today, TYSA was only able to reach what Glass called phase 1.5 of its plan, meaning that players still had to mostly stay inside their boxes but could pass and share the ball, adding some physically distanced competition to drills.
“From a personal perspective it was a nice challenge to embrace and find solutions from, it really kept us invested, really kept us motivated, and hopefully that reflected on the field and the players and parents really saw a product that was creative and fluid and well thought out.”