Orange County youth sports practices restarting with restrictions

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Youth sports in Orange County has gotten the green light to start practicing again.

Local soccer players talked to ABC7 about being excited to get back to at least a little bit of normalcy.

Alessio Sciabica says he's been playing soccer since he can walk.

"I actually like going to soccer practice more because of the social aspect of it," said the 14-year-old.

Sciabica looked for ways to stay in shape after COVID-19 shut down year-round training with his team, the West Coast Football Club.

Many other young athletes were left to find ways to safely practice their moves.

Dr. Dan Cooper, a pediatrician specializing in lung disease, says finding a way to stay physically active during the pandemic is just as important as avoiding catching the virus.

"The social and behavioral impact of sports practices is so good. It can defeat the social isolation that kids are feeling," said Dr. Cooper.

As of June 15, Orange County's interim health officer is allowing youth sports practices to start back up with some restrictions.

Per the California Department of Public Health guidance, among the rules are intensified cleaning, disinfection and ventilation, physical distancing, encouragement of face coverings and checking for signs and symptoms of the virus.

West Coast Football Club head coach Nick Cucuk says his coaches are ready with all the new procedures.

"We're not going to allow more than one team per field and it's gonna definitely be a distance in any drill minimum of about seven yards so that we can go ahead and make sure there is no physical contact," said Cucuk.

This particular soccer club will ask coaches to wear masks at all times.

"So you want to do physical distancing, and I think the coaches understand that. You want to do frequent hand hygiene and washing. You want to do that. You want to wear your mask before," said Dr. Cooper.

"It will sooner or later become back to our normal, but for now I have to understand the circumstances of what we have to do," said Sciabica.
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