COVID-19 And My Soccer Team

Mercy Soly, Media & Features Editor

Sophomore Kate Mercer has been playing soccer for nine years. The sport she loves has given her many opportunities, memories and experiences. Mercer and her team are continuing to play while contending with unforeseen challenges. 

“From the start, we haven’t been able to travel very far because of COVID or spend the night in hotels, which definitely has affected our team bond,” Mercer said.

Spending time with her teammates on the nights before games is one of Mercer’s favorite things to do. Mercer finds that because of the ongoing pandemic, the moments when she and the team can connect are now limited.

“Not being able to have the team huddle before the game is definitely a bummer,” Mercer said. “Not being able to communicate as well as you want with each other without the team hearing because you have to be spaced out, that’s been very disappointing.” 

The club team that Mercer plays for has implemented regulations to protect each of the players and their families. Temperature checks before practices and games and questionnaires to determine if any player has been exposed to COVID-19 are now routine. 

  New changes on and off the field have altered Mercer’s experience as a team captain.

 “When I go up for the coin toss and to meet the refs, we aren’t allowed to shake hands,” Mercer said. “We aren’t even allowed to introduce ourselves. We have to stay very spaced apart.” 

Even though Mercer and her team have the choice to wear masks on the field, off the field it’s mandatory.

“When we are getting subbed off the field, we have to wear a mask right away. So when you’re hot, sweaty, and tired you have to put a mask on, sometimes making it a little harder to breathe,” Mercer said. “But we have to keep it on and follow all the guidelines so we can have a safe season and environment to play.” 

The virus put a pause on last year’s spring season. Yet Mercer continued to practice at home to make sure she was able to play when the time came.

“Even when we weren’t allowed to be training, I had always been practicing my technical moves: juggling, shooting and passing. I stayed fit and I ran,” Mercer said. “Basically doing everything I could to be ready for this season, by working hard and not giving up through this challenging time.”