Old Rochester Youth Soccer kicks into gear

Sep 19, 2020

ROCHESTER — Marion Recreation Executive Director Jody Dickerson said he arrived at Dexter Lane fields at 5:30 a.m. to set up for the first day of the Old Rochester Youth Soccer League on Sept. 19.

Besides the usual goals, cones and nets, he set up chain barriers to direct parents and athletes, a table with a laser thermometer and multiple mini tables for parents to sign waivers for children which included a section about coronavirus symptoms. 

Kids ran around, learned how to dribble and shoot on goal, all while masked. Families watched on from a socially safe distance too.

Despite covid regulations, the league ran smoothly on its first day.

“It’s great to see the kids out here,” Dickerson said. 

Assistant Director of Recreation Nathan Vaughan said the league pulled plans together over the course of a month when the state’s governing body for soccer put out regulations on Aug. 15. Since then, the league has worked with the Marion Board of Health to ensure everything goes right.

“We want to set the tone from the beginning,” Dickerson said about the screening process before being able to play. 

“I think the kids need this,” Denise Disalvo said. She was there to watch her granddaughter from Marion, Peyton, play in the Pre-K and Kindergarten division.

The hour-long sessions run throughout the morning. After the youngest kids play, grades 1 and 2 play together, and then grades 3 and 4. Each session is separated by a half hour to allow for families to leave to minimize interactions.

Coaches ran each age group through warm-ups, drills, fun games, and finally scrimmages.

Despite the new regulations, “it’s great to have the kids back,” head coach Eric Parada said. 

He’s been coaching with the league for four years now.

When Parada found out the league was still on, he was energetic about it and was onboard to play.

“Maybe it’ll help people be a little more comfortable with the new normal,” Bernadette Brayman of Rochester said.

Her daughter, Taylor, is playing in the league for the first time this year.

She said it’s good that the league is “getting them out to give kids a sense of normal.”