The weather reports for next week do not look favorable, with about 1.3 inches projected and highs that do not exceed 60 degrees. We will be in another situation where most fields will not have had the opportunity to dry out. It seems unlikely that we will have enough fields open next week for practices. This season has been unprecedented, and we hope it is not the latest in a trend.
I have heard about parents organizing play dates, please be sure everyone understands that these are not AYSO sponsored events, and that the event will not include the AYSO liability or insurance coverage. If you are organizing one of these events, please be kind with your use of the space, many fields are soft, and would not recover from the abuse. For example, The Adams area fields need the time to recover. At Adams, we have been overseeding, and working to patch damaged areas in the core of the marked fields. Please avoid adding more wear to the core of the fields.
Interplay Teams (U14): A valid concern has been raised for U14 teams. Since many of your Albany & Lebanon opponents have been able to practice, you should be allowed to practice. The region board agreed, and has allowed the exception for teams that travel / play teams outside of Corvallis, to have practices. EXTRA teams, you will continue to have this same exception to allow you to practice for traveling games or tournaments. Please find a location that is suitable/safe and be kind to the space you choose for practices.
In 2010 when we first started seeing spring seasons with fields of standing water, the board setup a practice policy that has continued through the years. While each season is unique regarding games, the factors to decide the fate of practices remain consistent. When the majority of fields/schools are closed, we will cancel practices for all core teams (excluding our EXTRA teams).
The policy comes from when we allowed teams to continue practicing while most schools were closed. We found that teams without a space shifted to other locations causing more use in those locations. With the unexpected use, the damage was significant in some locations (parks turning into mud pits, etc.). We also left coaching in a situation where they were pressured to find ways to practice when no opportunities could fit their schedules or no opportunities were available in their area. It also became noticeable that teams who were able to practice had a significant advantage over teams that could not get a space to practice. Out of this season, the board decided to create the policy regarding practices and worked to strengthen our partnerships with 17J and 509J if this issue were to occur again.
In recent years, it has been uncommon to have a game day without practices prior. While U5 & U6 only play/practice on Saturday, other divisions often do not start the spring season with the first thing being a game on Saturday. I apologize for the break in custom and the confusion created by having games without practices. When evaluating the possibility of having games, we consider the field status, future impact, weather outlook, safety, volunteer commitment, and program objectives. All of these factors lined up, and in my opinion, afforded the rare opportunity to provide soccer on Saturday 4/8. Even with games on Saturday 4/8 & 4/15, we continue to have many fields closed, causing the cancelation of practices this week. Still with canceled practices, I expect to have games on Saturday 4/22.
Luke Cotton - Region 149 Commissioner