Glad to be Back: Avery Plathe Keeps Safe at Club Soccer


Bryce Plathe

Avery Plathe

Jacob Russell

As the dangerous virus, COVID-19, rages across the globe, many sports teams are being forced to change their daily routines to stay safe and healthy. With interactions between people becoming more and more dangerous with each passing day, multiple teams have been forced to completely shut down and cancel their seasons. Many large gatherings of people, such as tournaments and games, have been canceled putting a lot of stress on local businesses who rely on the sea of sport-loving fans to provide a stable income each year. The strain also falls on young athletes.

“It’s been weird,” Avery Plathe, a junior from Mount Vernon High School, said when asked how the outbreak has affected her club soccer season. “That’s the best way to describe it.” 

Plathe is a member of a soccer club that has multiple different members from about eight or nine different schools in Iowa. Because there are people from so many different schools on Plathe’s team, they have to take extra precautions to keep safe during the pandemic. Even if one player or coach tests positive, the entire team will be forced to quarantine for two weeks and miss all practice and tournaments during that time. Every player is required to wear a mask when they are not playing and have to use their own soccer balls to help cut down on contact spread. In addition to wearing masks, the club has developed new strategies to avoid infection.

“The league my club plays for has stages,” Plathe said. At stage one, the team is limited to a set amount of things they can do. As the stages progress, the team is allowed to interact more and more. “Stage four is when we finally get to play other teams and we just reached stage four.” By adopting this strategy, Plathe’s league can ensure that teams are safe before they begin competing against each other and potentially spread sickness.

Despite the use of this new method, many of Plathe’s tournaments have been canceled to ensure the safety of the players. One of their most important tournaments, the Scott Gallagher tournament, was among the cancellations. Normally, families and friends would flock to Missouri to see their favorite teams play. Hotels would be filled to the brim with people eagerly awaiting the game. During the tournament, stands of hundreds of fans would watch the field, chanting and cheering on the players. This year, teams and fans have been asked to stay home where they can safely social distance because it simply is not safe enough for the public to gather. With players and fans being sent home empty-handed, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses who would normally generate income from the tournaments begin to struggle. On a much larger level, effects of major sports cancellations have been felt globally and many small businesses who rely on the income of sporting events have gone under.

“Last week we should’ve gone down to St. Louis for our Scott Gallagher tournament, but we couldn’t because of COVID. They don’t want people staying in hotel rooms,” Plathe said sadly. To be safe, the team is only allowed to participate in tournaments that are a day long. If a tournament lasts longer, the team will simply not attend, unless it is a short drive from their complex. In a situation like this, Plathe’s club will mask up and commute back and forth each day to avoid staying cooped up in a hotel room with other players.

With major tournaments being canceled, soccer teams playing fewer games, fans being sent home, and overnight stays being cut, some people might simply assume that soccer just is not nearly as much fun this year as it has been in the past. Plathe would disagree. “It definitely didn’t get any less fun. If anything it got more fun. It’s nice to finally have something that’s somewhat normal back in our life.”