HERMON – River City Athletics is back to training almost as usual this week, with its club soccer teams taking the field to prepare for a summer season that is still questionable to take place in any fashion.
After two months of at home workouts and social isolation from teammates and coaches,the girls of the River City U19 team are training again; running groups drills and playing the game together. “Now, not wearing a mask you’re not restricted as much, it feels like we’re back at practice the way we were three months ago,” said U19 striker Natasha Cowan.
River City, and club soccer teams across the state, is in its first week of mask-free training in accordance with guidelines provided by Soccer Maine and US Soccer. All the club’s teams spent two weeks practicing with a protective face covering when it returned to group training in mid-May. “I think it was worth it to play any kind of soccer because I love my teammates and I love hanging out with them, and I love soccer, even with those guidelines it was worth it,” said U19 center back Audrey Groski.
Teams are now cleared for light physical contact in their training drills, gearing up for play in the Maine State Premier League that was canceled for this summer. Now, the hope is to play a 7 on 7 league in any capacity. “Maybe a four game schedule depending on how many teams we get involved, how many clubs, what the distance is like, what we can get referees, there’s so many questions to figure out but right now we’re trying to hold out hope for 7 v 7 league,” said River City co-founder and U19 girls coach Wayne Harvey.
More questions await River City as an organization. The temporary shutdown due to COVID-19 cost the club two months of its yearly revenue. Leadership is now hosting regular meetings to determine the ways to cover the cost of operations. “We are trying to do everything we can to be there tomorrow and that’s all our focus has been, we’ll get through this one, we’ll see where it comes out at the end of the summer and we’ll go from there,” said Harvey.
If no games are played this summer, training becomes preparation for the fall soccer season and many of the girls will still workout with their team. “It being my senior year, it’s helpful because I’ll be in shape for my senior season hopefully and just being able to play with them,” said Cowan.