A coach can always tell who followed the offseason workout plan.
But with summer leagues shuttered and a few incoming freshmen having missed their senior high school campaigns, it may be more obvious this season to State Fair Community College soccer head coach Jaime Beltran.
“This summer workout is no excuses, no special equipment required,” Beltran said. “It’s not designed to get them into the best shape of their lives, it’s designed to get them ready to practice.”
Getting ready for practice is a unique challenge this year. In addition to usual conditioning efforts, SFCC Athletics is compiling COVID-19 guidelines for practice and play in the fall semester. Student-athletes in the soccer program are among the first to return to campus.
“Our hope is to be as normal as possible,” Beltran said. “I know currently there are no restrictions in this area. We are going to be flexible in taking care of our kids.”
Friday, the NJCAA permitted schools to open campus to players July 18 to allow for a quarantine period. Beltran said due to travel obligations, SFCC soccer players are set to arrive Aug. 6-8 with practice beginning Aug. 9.
Beltran said travel obligations for international players are uncertain.
“We have several guys who are due to return who currently would not be able to due to travel closures. We’re all hoping that is lifted by the time August comes,” Beltran said. “Anyone who can’t get here on time, as long as they get here in time for school, we will work with them.”
Among details suggested in the upcoming coronavirus guidelines, Beltran said he wants players tested upon arrival, student-athletes to stay on campus during the season and for locker rooms to be closed during contests.
“Certain things that don’t get washed everyday on a normal basis, we’re going to wash them after every practice,” Beltran said.
Beltran said there are question marks about conditioning and skill regarding those who missed their senior high school seasons. However, he expressed confidence in the junior-year efforts he recruited and expects players excited to return.
“I’m tired of this, I think everybody is,” Beltran said. “Come ready to play.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.