Soccer training back on track

With restrictions on public gatherings lifted from two up to 10 people, many football activities within WA have restarted this week. 

For the past week, Football West has welcomed these new measures by working with local teams to provide support and resources that align with government regulations.

What resuming football activities in WA mean. Video: Christopher Tan.

Jamie Harnwell is Perth Glory’s former captain and current record holder for most appearances.

He currently commentates for Fox Sports, as well as coaches the WA state team and Sorrento NPL side.

Now, as Football West’s Acting Chief Operating Officer, Harnwell believes it is important for clubs to comply with state government guidelines.

“We support the federal and state government in managing the easing of restrictions,” he says.

“I don’t believe it sits as either a good or bad thing [the new restrictions], but to ensure the return of community football, we must go through the required steps as dictated by the experts.”

A timeline of COVID-19 events and their impact on football. Graphic: Christopher Tan.

Earlier this week, contingency planning commenced within many clubs as they work through modified and remodelled programs for training activities to return at the earliest possible date. 

Facebook statements by different clubs in response to new restriction changes. Photo: Christopher Tan.

For many players, preliminary training started as soon as these new restriction changes applied.

Sorrento Vikings players resuming fitness training last Sunday. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Having been at the club for more than a decade now, Armadale Soccer Club Technical Director Edgardo Garrido is concerned about the gap in coaching methods as a result of these new rules.

“Some of the players [seniors] have been training by themselves with drills and fitness, but on a junior level it’s really difficult because you have to show them,” he says.

“There is a lot of policing to do. At the senior level, you’ve got adults and they all follow instructions. But imagine when you have 13-15 year old kids together, how hard it is to keep 10 of them apart?

“[And] if two other kids arrive, are you going to tell them to go home? It’s a difficult one.” 

A video game representation (PES 2020) of what the new rules could look like with players excluded. Photo: Christopher Tan.

As outdoor football activities commence under monitored practices, indoor football (Futsal) centres have not yet been given the green light.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) suggestion on indoor sporting activities. Photo: Christopher Tan.

It’s been less than a year since Byford Venom Futsal Club opened its doors to members, but Club President Ray VanderRos says the past few months has been a setback. 

“As we’re new and starting to improve, it sucks because we’ve basically had to take one step forward and two steps back,” he says.

“I don’t see why [futsal] should start out later than outdoor [football] would.”

Football clubs looking to resume activities are advised to discuss their plans with relevant governing bodies as well as seek approval from land managers and local government.