Chris Hansen

| Register Guard

The high school soccer teams were able to revert to non-contact conditioning practices on Monday.

Whether they’ll be released for more than this year remains to be seen, but the clock is certainly ticking for a season that has already been postponed and delayed several times.

COVID-19 state guidelines continue to prohibit contact sports such as soccer (in all counties) and volleyball (in extreme risk countries) from participating in the Oregon School Activities Association’s second season beginning March 1.

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With that in mind, the OSAA board on Monday approved possible changes to both sports if they don’t get approval to return in the coming days.

For soccer, this could mean a 7v7 league or a flag soccer league that would also include a lineman combine.

“If that’s all that’s left on the table, then we’ll do it,” said Thurston football coach and sports director Justin Starck. “We’re only going to do it for the activity but we have a lot of kids who don’t come out because it’s not about football.”

With neither the Oregon Health Authority nor Governor Kate Brown giving consent to contact the sport on Monday, the OSAA board of directors was limited to what it could approve regarding the football season.

“I’m not surprised. Disappointed but not surprised,” said Sheldon trainer Josh Line. “We need people to lead and make decisions, and I know those decisions are not easy. … But stop dragging it along . “

Oregon and California are the only states that haven’t had a high school football season or a season isn’t planned for yet.

Willamette coach Josh Wolfram said he would be disappointed if Oregon officials didn’t pay attention to how these states apparently had successful and safe seasons.

“Everyone is just waiting,” said Wolfram. “It’s a little heartbreaking for the kids.”

Even so, OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber asked for patience before thinking a football season was a lost cause. He said he hoped the state would issue new guidelines on contact sports this week.

“We expect some possible changes,” said Weber.

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Volleyball, soccer, cross-country skiing

In volleyball, teams could ask to be included in season three this spring if they are not cleared to resume training on February 22nd.

There are currently 47 schools in 12 counties that can play volleyball. The majority of schools are in the 24 extremely vulnerable counties, including Lane County, and cannot play.

However, a team moving into a different season would mean that all multi-athletes on the team would have to choose a sport.

“It’s not a comfortable position and you have to choose between a spring sport or a winter sport,” said Starck. “But you still want to give opportunities to the kids.”

The board of directors voted for football and cross-country skiing to begin immediately on February 22nd. March 1st was still the first day for games and meetings.

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