Reinhardt’s Ken White’s Stadium. Photo Credit: Reinhardt Eagle Eye

By Sierra Ruetten

COVID-19 has affected everyone. Without public activities or large crowds, the world is a strange place, especially the sports world. At Reinhardt, the University and its Athletic Department has made changes to keep athletes safe. For example, the Reinhardt soccer teams have taken certain precautions, although the University has allowed the team to play this season.

The soccer season should have started on Aug. 3. The players would have met with their coaches to receive their gear and for the coaches to explain pre-season and season expectations. However, COVID-19 changed the plans just as it had changed them for other sports.

This year, the players have a move-in date and time, just like all other students. Instead of having 18 games, however, this year’s season will only have 14 games. All matches will be within the conference, and after the regular-season conference games, the conference tournament will take place in the Fall.

Unlike in previous years, the conference will hold the National Tournament in the Spring of 2021. Because of this change, the soccer season for 2020-21 will extend across both Fall and Spring semesters.

Reinhardt Women’s soccer team waiting to get temperatures checked before practice. Photo Credit: Sierra Ruetten

Masks have been an essential part of creating the world’s “new normal.” The same is true for members of the soccer team at Reinhardt. The players wear masks before training, as well as while they are waiting to have their temperatures checked. If a player needs to use the locker room, they must keep their mask on at all times.

As with all buildings on campus, everyone must also sanitize before entering the field house. Only a few players allowed in the locker room at one time. Most players stay out on the side of the building to get ready, to lessen the number of times each must go indoors.

Coaches allow players to remove their masks during practices but require them to keep their masks on throughout the training sessions. This way, the coaches can still be around their players and give instructions. Once the practice has finished, the players put their masks back on until they are safe to remove.

Before every practice, the physical trainer will come and take the temperature of each player. He also asks a series of questions about how each player is feeling. The questions cover whether the player has been feeling any symptoms of COVID-19. Taking temperatures and keeping track of each player’s health condition is how the coaches, trainers, and players plan to stay safe while playing.

The players have mixed feelings about the new season. The frustration with all the new rules and regulations are prevalent. They understand that it is necessary to keep healthy and safe so that we can have a season. Brianna Smotherman says, “I am excited that we still have our season, but it is scary thinking that we might lose our season. Even though we have been practicing for three weeks.” A player from the men’s soccer team, Aaron Whitten, agrees by saying “It’s unfortunate that we have to wear masks and not be able to use the locker room, but it is a blessing that we can play at all. Everyone is doing their best to be smart on and off the field.” The teams are excited to play their first game Sept. 19.

These rules and regulations protect the players, students, coaches—and the soccer season. The Reinhardt men’s and women’s soccer teams are thankful that they can still play their season and work hard to represent Reinhardt University on the field.

 


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