The Cathedral Prep soccer team has been affected by COVID-19 in many ways. Practices have changed, games have changed, yet oddly opponents don’t change.
Something as easy as going into the locker room and getting ready for practice is now a whole process. Players must show up to practice and keep a mask on from the car all the way to the temperature check point. However, even after receiving a temperature check players have to keep it on in the locker room and should not remove it until leaving the locker room. The locker room also can only have five players in it at a time due to its size and capacity.
Moving past arriving at practice being different, the actual practice is different too. Coaches have to wear a mask at all times and the same goes for any injured players that attend the practice. In the instance that one of the soccer players tests positive for COVID-19, then not only that player, but the entire team would have to quarantine for two weeks with no practices or games. That’s why head coach Sam Tojaga has repeatedly told his players to stay away from anybody who is not on the soccer team or in their family.
Practices have changed for the team, but perhaps the biggest change this season are the opponents the team is facing. Due to COVID-19, PIAA has made a schedule that keeps the team home in their district for most games, so Prep plays Harborcreek, General McLane, Erie High, and McDowell three times apiece. Along with these games, Prep also will have opportunities to play against some Ohio teams as well.
The games themselves have been played basically the same as a normal game except everyone who is not on the field must wear a mask (bench included). And after the game teams no longer shake hands to prevent the spread. Instead, they go to center field and clap for the their team out of respect. Players sitting out on the bench must also try to stay as separated as possible by stretching out across the bench to create a social distance between one another.
While this seems very odd and annoying, it is the new normal and everyone must come together as a community to get through it. The soccer team is doing its part at continuing the high school experience but also keeping its players safe. Hopefully one day things will go back to “normal,” but as of now this new style of a soccer team and season is the new “normal.”