What is going to highschool soccer seem like this fall?
North Carolina and Rhode Island end the unusual 2020-21 high school football season with championships this weekend. Once these states are a wrap, attention will be drawn to the fall, with much question and speculation about what exactly that will look like across the country.
Without a further sharp increase in the COVID-19 numbers, the preparatory football in autumn should look almost identical to the one before 2020, in the opinion of most state associations. How many fans will be present is still very open.
“Assuming everything stays as it is, we plan a full and regular school year for education-based athletics, including soccer, in 2021-22,” said Ron Nocetti, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation. “We’ll know more about fan permissions as we get closer to our launch dates.”
A good number of states – 35 out of 50 – got their way with soccer last fall (Vermont played touch rather than tackle), and all but four of those states hosted state championships. Alaska, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin all stopped short of championship games due to the pandemic.
Reaching the finish line in the fall took a lot of determination. This could have been best illustrated by Michigan, which moved football first to spring and then back to fall to postpone the season by 42 days from November due to rising COVID-19 numbers. The state eventually crowned 10 champions by January 23.
The states that have completed the fall season are ready and ready to go just by tweaking the pandemic protocols, which are expected to be eased significantly from 2020 onwards.
“Hopefully we’re getting closer and closer to normal,” said Justin Alumbaugh, coach of De La Salle (Concord, California). “We’d be naive to think that it goes all the way back to the old days. We still have to deal with locker room issues. And testing needs to be streamlined and easier. There is certainly a lot more administrative work for coaches than there was before.”
California is one of the eleven states that contested their 2020 season in spring 2021. Of these states, only three played for state titles. All spring teams have more difficult off-seasons than normal as summer conditioning is only a few weeks away.
Of the four states that didn’t play down-of-tackle football in 2020-21, Hawaii is the only state to host spring scrimmages, including a final week between perennial state powers St. Louis (Honolulu) and Punahou (Honolulu). It took St. Louis three days to take 150 COVID-19 tests, all of which were negative, according to its trainer.
“We have to watch all young people play and seniors have to play and finish their year,” said St. Louis trainer Ron Lee to Paul Honda of Hawaii Prep World. “Kids are so happy we had this. I feel sorry for other schools that didn’t have what we did, being out there with their friends. They had fun. They learned how to deal with disappointment.”
St. Louis will face Kamehameha Kapalama, Honolulu, in another bout this week, which signals the green light for an August 6th start date for the fall season. That would put Hawaii at the top for the fall 2021 season as usual.
Utah took over those reins last season, kicking off the 2020 season on August 13th. The season was largely unscathed and ended with five state championship games in late November. With its entire schedule for 2021, including another opening on August 13, Utah has its foot firmly back on the floorboard.
File photo by Adam Cartwright
Crimson Cliffs helped Utah kick off the 2020 season with an opening game against Manti.
As in many states, Utah is undergoing a significant realignment, including the resumption of 1A football, resulting in six classifications. The state has above-average sales at the top with 16 new head coaches, according to Utah Desert News.
That national trend is likely a backlog of burnout in navigating the pandemic, coaches say.
“It seems like (2020) never really started or really ended,” said Alumbaugh, whose six-game season ended on April 17th.
Nocetti said, “So much more is being put on these coaches’ plates. I would hope that the communities support and appreciate the high school coaches even more during this time. They need it. That’s the only way they will stay.” longer.”
The passion for football is never lost in Texas.
Spring football is back in the Lone Star State after being canceled in 2020. The University Interscholastic League offers 18 spring training exercises over 34 days and gives teams the opportunity to compete or even play a spring game. Programs must continue to follow UIL risk mitigation guidelines, but areas that affect specific mask mandates and locker room guidelines can ease things up.
Some of the larger schools that had regular hours withdrew a month and postponed their spring training. Others, like the defending champion of Class 5A-I, Ryan (Denton), have completely rejected the jumping ball. All of this indicates that the fall season is starting on time and is back to normal.
On Wednesday, the UIL also sent a notice that the summer marching band, strength and conditioning activities could begin immediately after the 2020-21 school year ends.
File photo of Sean Roach
Westlake quarterback Cade Klubnik will help his team defend a Texas 6A-I championship in 2021.
Other status updates:
* Georgia started off with a few hiccups to start 2020 but continued to walk normally in the first place. The 2021 season is organized as in previous years: the teams are allowed to complete a spring and an autumn (or two in autumn), the acclimatization phase begins on July 26th and the first day of training in Pads is August 2nd, the first games are the August 20th and August 20th The playoffs will begin on November 12th.
* In Florida, the state football season should look similar to 2019 and earlier for 2021, barring massive new districts, regions, and reclassifications. The playoff system is returning to district play for teams in grades 5A through 8A.
* In Tennessee, the TSSAA board voted to allow summer camps and the return of 7v7 football as long as COVID-19 logs are in place. These activities had ceased since the beginning of the pandemic. The state sports association for high school sports also moved the venue of the state championship to Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, which has 22,000 seats, for two seasons. Concerns about locker room space and usage – with so many games – were addressed and dismissed.
* Ohio pandemic adjustments resulted in a positive result, increasing the playoff format. Last fall, the OHSAA allowed any team to enter the playoffs due to the shortened season. According to Doug Ute, Executive Director of OHSAA, the feedback has been largely positive. It expanded its playoff qualification in 2021 from the pre-2020 season to 16 schools per region.