By Ray Hamill — It appears as if competitive soccer is ready to make a welcome return to the North Coast in the coming weeks after being shut down for the past year.
On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom cleared the path for a return when he announced updated state guidelines for youth sports, allowing all outdoor sports to resume competition as long as a county has a case rate of no more than 14 per 100,000.
“We’re moving in a positive direction,” Eureka girls head coach Tommy Learmouth said.
While admitting he’s still not 100 percent certain of a season because of the unpredictability of the pandemic, Learmouth said he was delighted to hear the news.
The H-DNL must still be cleared to play by local health officials, but it’s now almost certain we will see a season this year.
And that’s good news for players throughout the H-DNL, especially the seniors who had feared they would not get to play their final high school season.
The league is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and will have plenty of work to do, including coming up with a timeline and schedule for soccer and other sports now cleared to play.
“Hopefully some of that stuff will be ironed out on Wednesday,” Learmouth said. “I know they’re going to be working overtime.”
Learmouth and the Eureka boys team will also have to figure out where they can play this year, with Albee Stadium and the Eureka High fields currently deemed unsafe to play on.
“We’re going to look at all options,” the coach said.
The Loggers have been back practicing in recent weeks in preparation for a potential season, and will be back on the practice fields on Wednesday.
Contrary to an earlier report on Humboldt Sports, soccer players will be required to be tested for COVID during the season. Under the new guidelines, all high-contact sports require weekly testing for student athletes and soccer is listed as a high-contact sport.