U6 Timbits players and coaches talk soccer on June 1, 2019 at the SAS Jackson field. (File photo)

Youth soccer, minor baseball in Shuswap hope for word from provincial associations

Government reps meet with B.C. associations to work out protocols for play

Although a few sports such as tennis and pickleball have been given the go-ahead by Salmon Arm city council under provincial government guidelines, soccer and baseball cleats remain on the shelf.

At Shuswap Youth Soccer, operations manager Mike Fox said the organization is waiting for the provincial governing bodies to put together their return-to-play plan.

“Like everybody else, we’re guessing right now. We may see something tomorrow or in a couple of weeks.”

Salmon Arm Minor Baseball Association is in the same anchored boat.

SAMBA President Troy Spence said his group is taking direction from BC Minor Baseball, in conjunction with the city’s word on ball fields. He said the provincial organization hasn’t given local organizations the green light yet.

“Certainly they’re talking about it but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”

Provincially, Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, provided a May 11 Return to Sport message on the ViaSport British Columbia website. She stated the ViaSport team is working with sports groups to develop guidelines for resuming play.

“We recognize the immense toll this pandemic response has taken on athletes, coaches, volunteers and others in the sport sector. Sport plays such a critical role in people’s mental and physical health. As we’ve all faced heightened stress, we know that not having organized sport as an outlet has been especially difficult. Under our plan, we are confident that the sport sector will be able to restart under enhanced protocols in Phase 2, beginning mid-May,” Beare wrote.

Read more: Game over for North Okanagan youth soccer

Read more: Salmon Arm Minor Baseball gets permission to build batting cage

“I have asked the team at viaSport to work with groups in the sport sector in developing a set of guidelines on how to operate safely and start to resume play during this pandemic.”

Beare said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said guidelines should cover three things: 1) processes to open safely; 2) measures to keep people safe to avoid further outbreaks and 3) a plan in the event that a case or an outbreak should occur.

Mayor Alan Harrison said the city never actually closed the grass fields; however, provincial distancing rules prohibited soccer and baseball from happening. He too pointed out that provincial associations are working on protocols that might allow some form of sports like soccer and baseball to occur, while still meeting the guidelines.

“The challenge for games like soccer, baseball, hockey… where there is interaction between players, is a lot greater than for games like tennis and pickleball, where players don’t necessarily interact with each other.”



newsroom@saobserver.net

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A Salmon Arm tadpole player makes a catch for an out at second base during a game against Penticton in July 2018. (Rebecca Scott Photography) Ben Perkins of the Salmon Arm Young Guns tadpole team makes a catch for an out at second base during their game against the Penticton Tigers. (Rebecca Scott Photography)

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