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OWSC COVID-19 Update 5/15/2020

 

Dear Orono Westonka Soccer Club Families,

 

We hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy.  Like many of you, we are continuing to monitor the ever-changing environment, restrictions, guidance, and protocols being shared by many sources.  This week, we have been:

  • Analyzing Governor Walz guidance as it relates to the lifting of next week’s Stay-At-Home order, as well as monitoring further details related to youth sports activities
  • Collaborating with metro clubs to ensure we have mutual understanding and alignment of US Club Soccer, MYSA and TCSL policies, and guidance
  • Aligning with local community members (schools and cities that control the fields)
  • Meeting internally and gathering coach input to develop a return-to-play plan that supports our specific community

 

Our goal as a club remains focused on providing soccer training activities this summer, doing so in an environment that keeps safety and well-being as the top priority.

 

With this in goal in mind, we are shifting the provisionally planned all club return-to-play (in person) date out to June 1st, 2020.  Weekly Facebook Live and At-Home-Training plans will continue through the end of May (and beyond allowing for certain players to return when they are ready and comfortable to do so).  In addition, the scope of in-person play, for obvious reasons, will be a narrower set of activities to allow for the safety and well-being of all players and coaches.  For Lil Lakers (Rec Program) specifically, we are still provisionally planning for this same date but are aligning on how we can do that safely.

 

This additional time will allow the club to do things such as:

  • Gather input directly from our club families related to return-to-play (in person)
  • Interpret detailed direction coming from local/government authorities specific to youth sports
  • Work through dependencies related to getting back to playing outside (e.g. field availability)
  • Ensure we have a plan that falls within guidelines for insurance coverage purposes
  • Pilot initial sessions with select staff/board members to gain experience and refine before rolling out to players/teams

 

In transparency, here are some return-to-play (in person) ideas we are considering:

  • Start with a small group of coaches/staff to limit exposure and have a safer, more controlled environment 
  • Start with a subset of older players who are more familiar with a stricter training environment; phasing in younger players/teams over time
  • Look at a return-to-play (in person) strategy that would have fewer players at a younger age and more players at an older age, yet all still within guidelines
  • Continue to facilitate virtual training and home workout plans, as an alternative option to player families based on their personal comfort level

 

Thank you for your continued patience and support of the Orono Westonka Soccer Club as we navigate through these uncertain times.  Please watch for an OWSC community survey coming out next week.  We want your valuable input on how we can enter this new phase most safely for all involved.

 

Best,

Orono Westonka Soccer Club

COVID-19 Update 5/4/2020

Dear Orono Westonka Soccer Club Families,

We hope you all are staying safe and healthy.  With schools officially closed through the end of the school year and businesses slowly opening back up, the entire U.S. soccer community is juggling many ideas and decisions as it relates to getting our kids back on the field in a safe and timely manner.  We along with many of you cannot wait to get back to playing soccer and have been working on what that will look like in the midst of this unprecedented time.  

We are working closely with MYSA, TCSL, and US Soccer and the plan is to play soccer.  

Will it be delayed?  Yes.  

Will the season go longer into summer?  Likely, yes. 

Will it look the same as year’s past?  No, it will need to be done in a newly defined “safe” environment and it will include new activities we have not done in a typical spring season to make up for the lost time.  Our staff, coaches, and coach advisory group are working on creative and fun ideas to make the season as comprehensive as possible for families with added at home and in-person training activities.

Understandably, we have been getting a variety of questions from club families.  They have ranged from parents wanting a refund all the way to families wanting us to get their kids on the field to play ASAP.  We can understand these questions and the range of emotions everyone is feeling given this uncertain environment.  Ultimately, our goal as a club is to provide soccer training and playing opportunities this summer.  However, we are asking for your continued patience until we have confirmation of a plan.

In full transparency, we are a nonprofit organization that runs with a smaller budget and this shutdown due to COVID-19 is significantly impacting our organization.  We are working very hard behind the scenes to minimize financial losses.  One example of this is recent staff reductions and reallocation of job responsibilities across a leaner team.  We also have an active, working volunteer board that is supporting important programming, planning, and decision making on a regular basis.  

At the same time, we entered 2020 with new fixed costs related to the build-out, lease, and maintenance of the new Welu indoor facility.  In addition, the club is being faced with trying to recoup tournament expenses that we will likely never get back.  These are just a few examples and there are many more we are working on and/or negotiating as we speak to be good stewards of club resources.  

Ultimately, if we were to issue refunds at this point not knowing the final plan for summer it has the potential to be devastating to the future of the club.  Hence, we are asking for your continued support and patience as we work on alternative options and partner with government authorities and MN soccer leagues on the most optimal outcome given these extenuating circumstances.

Now, let’s get to details related to the modified season we are currently planning for:

●      Competitive games are being planned by MYSA and TCSL to start the beginning of June.  On May 18th, if U.S. Club Soccer and MN Governor Walz open up our ability to get on the fields we are provisionally planning to have team practices the last two weeks of May.

●      Lil Lakers Rec Program is provisionally planned to start the beginning of June.

●Supplemental, creative and fun programming to help players get back into great soccer shape

Below is a preview to what our staff, coaches, and coach advisory group are working on to provide soccer training and playing opportunities now and into summer:

●      Facebook Live training with staff and coaches providing support and educational opportunities

●      At-home training plan to get kids ready for field play - watch for communication later this week

●      Evaluating camp dates to decide if we need to postpone and/or adjust

●      Ramping up fitness:  We know the kids haven’t had the opportunity to practice/get ramped up for competitive play and want to make sure we do everything possible to ensure they are as successful as they can be (more details coming soon)

  • Player safety:  Our staff will be collaborating with other local club leaders to discuss health procedures and new ways of playing to ensure consistency and alignment across clubs.  This collective group will also use guidance and input from government authorities and MN soccer leagues.  We are also working on securing more fields/time to help in spacing out practices and games to reduce the number of players on the field at any given time.

We hope families are excited about this supplemental soccer programming.  With that being said, we also understand the times we are living in are uncertain and in no way is this training meant to overwhelm a player.  Therefore, we are asking players to “do what you can”.  If you have questions arise as these opportunities are rolled out, please contact your player’s coach to discuss further.

We are cautiously optimistic about our plans and we are thankful for the continued patience and support of all families.  Please watch email and social media for further details and updates.

Best,

Orono Westonka Soccer Club

COVID-19 UPDATE 3/20/2020

Dear OWSC Families, 

 

As the global effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, OWSC is firmly committed to the health and safety of our members and employees.  We are closely monitoring the changing situation, and complying with public health guidance.  Last week we made the decision to suspend soccer activities and wanted to provide an update.  

Welu Indoor Soccer Complex remains closed and all in-person soccer programming (both competitive and recreation/Lil Lakers) are suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

We know the news of soccer being on hold is hard for not only the kids but also the parents. In the interim, our soccer staff will start sending out activities using different electronic vehicles (email, social media, etc.).  

Please keep your eyes out for these activities coming soon!

Spring Competitive Soccer

We are working with US Club Soccer, Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) and Twin Cities Soccer League (TCSL) on how the spring competitive season could look, and when.  TCSL and MYSA are both weighing options and making contingency plans based on potential outcomes. We are early in this journey and will be keeping in alignment with all organizations through this process.  

Once we receive updates in Mid-April, and if the spring season is delayed further, we will provide information regarding any refunds at that time.

  • 3.17.20 US Club Soccer Update:  

  • 3.16.20 Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA):  

  • 3.17.20 Twin Cities Soccer League (TCSL):  

  • April Tournaments:  As you can imagine, tournament directors are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will follow suit with organizations such as US Club Soccer once more is known.  They have committed to providing the next update to soccer clubs by April 1st.  

  • Technical Academy:  We know the last day of this was supposed to be March 16th and had to be canceled.  We will be issuing a refund for members who were signed up for that day. 

Recreation/Lil Lakers Soccer

Lil Lakers is managed in house and this will allow us to be flexible in scheduling once we are able to move forward.  We know how important it will be for our children to exercise and run around after spending so much time inside. We will update you all on future programming once we are able based on government and health agencies.  Once we receive updates in Mid-Late April, we will provide information regarding any refunds at that time if the season doesn’t happen.

  • Lil Lakers Saturday Program:  We know the last day of our last session was canceled.  We will be issuing a refund for members who were signed up for that day.

  • For those wondering what Lil Lakers is all about:  We are proud to offer the Lil Lakers Recreational Soccer program to provide our young players with an entry-level opportunity to learn the fundamentals of soccer and enjoy the game with their friends in a relaxed environment. It is an in-house program with parent-volunteer coaches where the focus is on fun rather than high-level competition.

We are committed to all of our players, families and our local community.  While we know it is hard for all of the players to not participate together in an activity they love, we also know this pause in time is necessary to protect player health and safety.  Thank you for your support. Be safe and be well.

Our Best - Orono Westonka Soccer Club

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President’s Message: BIG news for Orono Westonka Soccer Families!

Dear Orono Westonka Soccer Families and Friends,

The OWSC Soccer Board have an exciting announcement to share:

We have secured a new home for the Orono Westonka Soccer Club!

Starting this winter, Orono Westonka will have a permanent indoor facility at the Balboa Center on Shoreline Drive in Mound.  This new facility will have two permanent turf soccer fields, offices for OWSC staff, training rooms, and space for teams to meet both on and off the field.  Best of all, OWSC will control 100% of scheduling, so we can ensure that all teams have regular, consistent, and convenient practice sessions more often throughout the winter months.  

Our intent is to offer as much training as possible for players of all levels, including introducing a new developmental program for our youngest recreational players, expanded options for team training and specialized training for elite player development. 

While the new facility offers the potential for increased levels of programming, be assured this will not result in an increase in fees for 2019/2020: All competitive teams have winter training already included in spring fees. We will send out winter team training schedules to all 2020 registered players by November 15th.

Getting the new indoor facility up and running will be a community effort!  Watch for future volunteer opportunities at the new facility coming soon.  

Please remember Spring 2020 Early Bird Registration ends November 15th!

Victoria Seals - OWSC Board President

Mike Kevitt - OWSC Board Vice President