Ottawa amateur soccer leagues return to the pitch

After waiting almost 19 months, amateur organized soccer is back in the capital. Now that Step 3 of the provinces reopening plan is in effect, leagues like the Ottawa Carleton Soccer League (OCSL) are kicking off their seasons. With more than 300 teams from 55 clubs the OCSL is the largest soccer league in the region hosting thousands of games every year.

This year has offered unique challenges but OCSL Chair William McIntyre says they have put in many precautions to ensure the players and fans enjoy the beautiful game in safety. The league's Step 3 guide outlines what teams and players need to do to reduce the risk of Covid-19. 

“Social distancing for spectators, sanitization of equipment the host team is prepared for that, self assessments before we come in for every game,” McIntyre said. “Many have suffered during the course of being self-isolated and everybody is just so excited to get back to the field.”

Players like Eric Ethier have been gearing up for this day for weeks. But according to Ethier, there is little you can do to prepare to play.  

“I’m defiantly gassed way easier, I think soccer is very unique you can’t really prepare for it by just running or working out wearing cleats and pivoting all over the place is a lot different it’s a big adjustment, my knees and ankles are feeling it,” Ethier said.

“It’s also odd because you are coming up against people that normally for the last year and a half you’ve had to be six feet away from.”