River City players happy to be back on the football field despite COVID-19 restrictions


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Gabby Ravin said playing football while wearing a face mask was a challenge.

This is one of many requirements put in place to tackle the spread of COVID-19 as local youth football clubs returned to the training ground earlier this month.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

“It was definitely more difficult to practice with a mask. But, personally, I totally agree, ”Ravin said.

“I just miss football. I will do anything to play now.

Ravin travels 28 miles from Brooks to Hermon Elementary School grounds to train with his Bangor-based River City Athletics Under-19 football club.

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Ravin, a junior at Mount View High School in Thorndike, said she sympathizes with workers who have to wear face coverings all day.

“It was a bit difficult with the mask, especially when I got tired [quickly] and it’s sweaty. But it’s not bad. I’m just happy to be here, ”said Emma Coleman from Dedham, a second year student at John Bapst High in Bangor.

This is the consensus among gamers who have been out of business since March due to the pandemic.

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US Soccer and Soccer Maine have established restrictions consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the national and state levels.

Wearing face masks and social distancing are at the top of the list.

Players should stay six feet from each other during drills and breaks as well as before and after practice. This means that scrums are not possible.

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Players cannot touch the ball with their hands, the only exception being goalkeepers who wear gloves.

Anna Drinkert, a junior babysitter at Orono High School, said wearing the face mask required adjustment.

“[Fortunately], I didn’t have to dive a lot, ”she said.

MJ Ball is River City’s coaching director and coaches a women’s under-14 team.

“You wear a seat belt for extra safety and after a while you don’t realize you are wearing it. We’re going to have to deal with this for at least this month, maybe longer, ”he said.

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Ball, the Hermon High School girls’ soccer coach, hopes the mask requirement will be lifted in June, but said the teams will follow guidelines set by state and US Soccer.

Players must bring their own balls and water bottles and are not allowed to “steer” the ball. There cannot be more than 10 people at a time in an area.

“It’s weird that I can’t kiss all of my friends,” said Ashlin Allen, a second year student at Hermon, who will be a junior at Hermon. “But it was fun.”

The River City U-19 team were scheduled to play this weekend in New Hampshire.

“Even though we don’t play games, I still want to train and work to improve myself,” Ravin said.

Ball said his U-14 daughters have been fantastic in the face of the restrictions.

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River City chairman Wayne Harvey, host of the sports talk show “The Morning Line” on 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor and the club’s U-19 girls’ coach, said the return to football had come true. rather well.

River City has 14 boys and girls teams ranging from U-11 to U-19 who train regularly.

Harvey said players get more frequent water breaks and mask respite, during each 2.5-hour session.

If there are more than nine players in a practice, Harvey divides them into two groups and they play in separate half-fields.

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He stands in the middle of the field or takes turns leading each group.

Keeping players separate can be a challenge, especially for longtime friends.

“Some of them have been playing together since they were in first and second grades,” Harvey said.

Ball said all coaches in River City have the tools and resources to lead productive practices in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. He told coaches to focus on skills competitions between teammates involving passing, dribbling or shooting.

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Ball uses a passing drill in which two players are on part of the court with three cones. They try to make as many one-touch passes as they can in a minute. One player is stationary and the other negotiates the cones. He said it serves as a conditioning and fitness exercise.

Harvey uses a drill with players positioned on different colored cones.

It will announce the color of a cone to announce where a pass will go and when the ball is on its way to the player at that cone, it will announce another color, telling the recipient of the pass where to send their pass. past.

“Even if you can’t play against each other, it’s good to be able to go out and practice,” Coleman said. “I definitely miss the scrum.”

Watch: The difference between a face mask and a face cover

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