COVID-19 and Soccer: England and Montgomery, NJ

by Zeb Jerdonek ’24

Source: skysports.com

Published Nov. 11th, 2020

In England, the Premier League has not gone on hiatus despite a second wave with over 20,000 new cases everyday. In order to minimize the risk of infection and rapid spreading, the Premier League has performed 12,804 tests from August 31 to October 25, with 44 players testing positive for Covid-19, including talented stars such as Sadio Mane (Liverpool F.C.), Paul Pogba (Manchester United F.C.), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City F.C.), and Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City F.C.).

COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on both leagues, with hundreds of millions of dollars in losses resulting from loss of ticket revenue as well as a sudden need for screening tests and related medical equipment. In order to compensate for this, clubs are forced to cut the salaries of staff and athletes, and sometimes even layoff staff members.

In the Montgomery High School Soccer program, the impact of COVID-19 has been noticeable, albeit less significant than in pro sports.

“Our routine is largely the same as in other years. Obviously, social distancing at practice, games and on the bus is different for us, but the work on the field and the routines of practices and games remain unchanged,” says Coach Mueller, the boys Junior Varsity Soccer Team head coach.

Instead, the biggest change is with player preparation. “COVID shortened our preseason this year and didn’t allow our students to play pick up soccer, organized soccer, or have captain practices…to improve their fundamentals all summer long,” says Coach Figeuroa, the Boys Freshman Soccer Team head coach. This has resulted in some weaknesses on the team, including communication. He goes on to say, “We lack [communication] this year more than any other year as I feel we are disconnected some games and need more leadership and players talking.”

Strong preparation and team chemistry are just as important this year as any other year, as Coach Steeb, the Boys Varsity Soccer Team coach, adds: “The Skyland Conference is one of the top Conference’s in the state. The level of competition is always high,”

All in all, COVID-19 has affected soccer on both an international and local level, posing financial and talent issues respectively. As the pandemic continues to sweep across the world in waves, our experience with the 2020 soccer season shows that it is possible to successfully play contact sports despite the uncertainty facing the globe.

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