Coach relieved as Manea Strikers return to action for first time since lockdown
- Credit: Archant
After weeks of isolation, junior footballers were finally able to enjoy getting back on the pitch and for one coach, this has been a welcome relief.
Players across all male age groups at Manea Strikers returned to action for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, after the FA allowed clubs to train under certain restrictions.
Steve Tarsitano, coach of the Manea Under 10 Blue team, was one of those keen to get back into routine as quickly as possible.
“My son plays in the team and I’ve started to notice a lot of change in him as a result of not being active and seeing his friends,” he said.
“When the news came from the FA that we could train with restrictions, I was relieved.”
Following weeks of planning, Steve took his first training session last week, where players trained for 30 minutes in groups of five, with no tackling or games allowed.
Children must stay two metres apart to adhere to social distancing guidelines, bring their own equipment, and parents must stay until the session ends.
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“A lot of people have been saying it’s too dangerous to train the kids and that football isn’t important enough to risk it,” Steve said.
“My feelings are that football is more about giving kids a sense of community and belonging as well as helping kids mentally and physically.
“I was surprised to see how understanding they all were for children as young as they are, they respected the two-metre distancing rule perfectly, while at the same time enjoying each other’s company and having a laugh again.”
Steve, who was anxious about whether the team would enjoy his new-look session, told his players he hopes these types of sessions won’t last long.
The club has also received a welcome boost off the pitch after receiving a pitch groomer from Pecks of Ely and a £2,500 donation from the Football Foundation, as well as a chance to reseed the grass at Manea Playing Field where they train.
“Hearing the sound again was a welcome noise and importantly, seeing my son starting to return to normal and socialise with his friends was a sight I have been waiting for a while,” Steve added.
“Hopefully in the future, we will be in a position to review how we train further and, with the FA guidance, eventually get back to normal full contact football. But for now, this will do.”