Men’s varsity soccer team face new challenges

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Photo courtesy coach Mario Sanchez

The men’s varsity team stretches before the game at El Dorado.

Kenneth Durbin, Reporter

The lights glare intensely on the field, muffled shouts are heard as a ball shoots into the goal past the goalie. Athletes are spread apart and the stadiums are empty. Soccer is looking and sounding a little different these days.  

Covid has impacted everyone.

“We didn’t have the opportunity to conduct open tryouts and we needed to change how we conducted the practices because we need to keep our distance. We had a lot of new players move up from the freshman and Jv teams to varsity which is exciting and helps improve the quality of the team for this and future years,” coach Mario Sanchez said.

Players and staff know that things are different but they still try to go on with a sense of normality.

“Practices are going well for the team so far; they are following all Health guidelines to take care of themselves,” manager Michael Lopez said.

Though the state has opened up sports there are new regulations and safety guidelines that have brought their own sets of challenges.

“It has been difficult because we had to change our whole routine. Before it was just common sense that you had to show up to practice but now we need to show up early to school, so we can ask the routine questions and check temperatures, and monitor distancing of the players while on the bench or when playing as well as making sure that they have their faces covered. Practicing has been tough but it’s not impossible,” Sanchez said. 

Some regulations are optional but most teams rather be safe than sorry. 

“At DV, the varsity teams are the only ones practicing but I know that they gave the other schools the option to have a Jv team but I only know one school in the Ysleta district that has a Jv team,” Sanchez said.

With these limitations, the teams need to get smart about how they practice and manage the players.

“It’s a little different but it’s also mostly the same since we have over 30 players we are split into groups of three or four but it is a little because we are tested each week, so we have that little feeling of safety but since we are soccer it is a contact sport we need to be safe still,” Sanchez said.

Though safety is essential, the season is still the same.

“The teams are doing well this season, we are currently third in the district, we do have a couple of mishaps here and there but the team can and has pulled through,” Lopez said.

This year will be felt for the next couple of seasons.

“Before when we couldn’t come to school, we could tell Covid had a major effect on our players, and we couldn’t be sure if they were doing the drills and exercises right. We know that this year had affected the players and us because Covid had stopped the growth of some players when we were out of school, but now that we are back to normal so to speak we can put this behind us and remember it more as a bad memory more than anything and be able to move past this, and we are proud of the team and know that they are strong and will be able to succeed this and the following seasons,” Sanchez said.

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