CROMWELL, Conn. — Story by Mary Kate Sullivan / Cromwell High school
In April, in the midst of all the uncertainty around the world, soccer players in Connecticut that are part of the U.S. Development Academy were faced with the profound disappointment that US Soccer had made an executive decision to end operations of the Development Academy US Soccer announced, “This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but the extraordinary and unanticipated circumstances around COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a financial situation that does not allow for the continuation of the Development Academy program into the future.”
Players found themselves, independently, having to workout and train at home, for four months without their teammates and coaches. Training consisted of going to a local track, and doing prescribed track workouts and sprints, to setting up cone drills and practicing ball work. Maintaining motivation to stay fit and to grow as soccer players, was key to staying happy and healthy for the athletes during their time off.
Being able to return to play safely, meant players, coaches, and parents had to follow the COVID- 19 guidelines set in place. In an interview with teammate Carly Passaro, she talks about the protocols put in place to maintain safety measures. “We have to walk in with masks, and we have to maintain the 6 feet distance rule, we also have to walk out with masks and we’ve been sanitizing the soccer balls and all the equipment we use so we can stop the possible amount of COVID that is being spread.”
On top of following COVID-19 protocols, the mental well-being of players is a priority for the coaches at Oakwood Soccer Club here in Connecticut. Tiffany Weimer, the coach of this particular girls team focuses on the mental wellbeing of her players.
“Too much school work now and being in front of the screen now, players obviously do not have their social life, so I'm not dealing with the same players I was last year and I think as people we need to be more aware of mental health and what everyone is going through.” We are all going to continue to try our best during these tough times, that is our goal.