Boys soccer takes a new approach to practicing

Amaia Garay, Reporter

As students begin to slowly return to campus in a hybrid fashion, sports teams also attempt a sense of normalcy as they start up distanced practices and COVID-safe competitions once again. Among those teams is the boys’ varsity soccer team whose practices and the season began on April 12 after more than a year of absence from the field. 

Both students and coaches must follow strict Covid-19 guidelines put in place by the Vine Valley Athletic League and Sonoma County Office of Education to be able to practice together and play in games against opposing teams. Before practices begin, coaches must conduct health surveys and take temperatures of each player to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. Players are instructed to stay home if they are feeling ill or test positive for Covid-19, masks must be worn as much as possible, as well as distance must be kept.

With all these new rules and regulations, the boys’ soccer team has still managed to come together and play. Jordan Schlau, head coach of the boys’ soccer teams, talked about how his players are dealing with the changes and some of the ways he and his team have managed the distance. 

“Normally in the early part of our season, we would split time between the weight room and the field,” said Schlau. “Since the weight room is not an option at this time, we do all our working out on the field.” At the beginning of their practices, the boys can be seen safely warming up and mingling, making up for time lost due to the inability to practice. 

For all of the junior varsity team, this is their first year representing our school on the soccer field, but for the varsity team, all are returning players with knowledge of what soccer looked like pre-pandemic. Junior Nico Rahman, a veteran player on the varsity team, talked about the changes the team has experienced. 

“When this first started we couldn’t do as much contact and we had to be in our own little space, just doing footwork,” said Rahman, “but its gotten better. We’ve been able to play physically more with each other and be more aggressive.” Rahman also commented on the negative effect of Covid-19 wiping out an entire year on college opportunities. 

Even though the team has just begun their season, and only played in one game so far, they are looking forward to the weeks to come. For some players, this is their last year on the field and they are looking to make the most of it. Senior Connor Allan, the varsity team captain, said that he was glad to be back out on the field training with the others, and gave advice to other players.

“I would say be patient,” said Allan, “And always be ready for your opportunity because you never know when it will come.” Both on and off their home field, the team has been working out and training individually, getting ready for the time when they can show their skills again. 

Schlau reflected on how he saw his players demonstrating composure and “incredible strength” during a stressful time for all, saying he has never seen his player so motivated than right now. Senior Wilson Barahas, the second team captain of the varsity team, talked about that motivation and his confidence in his teammates. 

“I think everybody just [kind of] noticed that we all took soccer for granted,” said Barahas, “We have [some] time that we can play soccer so no we’re just motivated and excited to come back.” Soccer and all sports teams have been working double-time to return to their passions on the field. 

“Coming on the field and showing everybody that I’ve been working and training even through Covid-19,” said Rahman. “That is what is keeping me going and really motivated.”

With so much uncertainty in the air, these boys know they can count on each other and their coach to bring home a great season, encouraging all athletes to do the same. 

“Know that we are all going through this together, and if we lean on each other we are stronger and more capable,” said Schlau. 

Now that academic and athletic years are beginning to return back to normal, these soccer players and their coach are a reminder of how hard work and dedication can help through difficult times.