ABINGTON and UPPER DUBLIN >> Things are going to be different for high school sports this fall and it was evident on Day 1 of practice.
Upper Dublin boys soccer players showed up for the first official workout Monday with COVID-19 symptom sheets and they had their temperatures taken before stepping onto the field.
Precautions were being taken across the Suburban One League Monday as teams returned to the field for the first day of practice for low and moderate risk fall sports.
“It feels great,” Abington boys soccer senior captain Bryce Lexow said. “I’m surprised we were able to get back – I know the Catholic League canceled – so thankful that our league decided to get us out here and give us at least a chance to get it going.”
As always, the first day was focused on getting players up to speed.
“The goal is just to get your feet back,” Lexow said. “They’re going to have us running. I know a lot of people haven’t been playing club, so I don’t think guys are that in shape. That’s definitely a goal.”
“Right now the goals are just to get back into shape,” Upper Dublin boys soccer senior captain Sean Seabrook echoed, “start building team chemistry, see what new guys we have and start preparing for the season.”
Players have been getting together for a few weeks now to improve their games, but those workouts were limited to 25 people, Abington boys soccer senior captain Gavin O’Neill said. Both Abington and Upper Dublin had around 50 players present Monday.
Throughout the summer, no one knew if fall sports would be taking place. Abington and Upper Dublin’s school boards both voted to move forward with fall sports last week ahead of Friday’s Suburban One League meeting, where 21 of the 24 schools voted to play.
“We’ve been talking in the group chat sending updates when we’ve got them,” Lexow said. “The PIAA allowed us to play, then Abington gave us a chance and then the last thing was the SOL on Friday.”
“Our coaches told us to stay ready and continue to run,” O’Neill said.
“I was staying optimistic,” Seabrook said of his mentality this summer. “I think all of us were. There was always the chance we weren’t going to play and I think everyone would have understood. We’re happy we are playing.”
Some Upper Dublin boys soccer players made sure their voices were heard ahead of the school board’s vote. The players joined in a rally outside the school encouraging the decision-makers to let them play.
“We got a couple guys out there,” Seabrook said. “I thought it was a good turnout, got the whole community around a good cause.”
Before practice started, Upper Dublin boys soccer coach Andy Meehan talked to his team about being as smart as possible to make sure this season happens, especially for the seniors who are entering their final year.
“I really wanted to play this year,” Seabrook said. “Last year was disappointing. We went out in the first round of the playoffs. This year I want to go further if we have playoffs.”
Whether or not there will be a postseason is to be determined, but as of Monday high school sports are back in the Suburban One League.