Youth sports are inching toward a more “normal” summer following last week’s Minnesota Department of Health announcement that games could resume this week.
The most recent COVID-19 guidance allowed full-team practices for indoor and outdoor sports starting Wednesday. Games and scrimmages for outdoor team sports were OK as of Wednesday, with games and scrimmages for indoor sports recommended to start Wednesday, July 1.
Even now, however, the summer won’t resemble what’s happened in past summers. A number of events already have been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, including the entire Minnesota American Legion baseball season, the USA Cup soccer tournament and the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association summer state championships.
But several local organizations are trying to salvage something. A group of American Legion baseball teams, including Farmington, are planning to play independent schedules this summer. Wayzata and Eden Prairie will play in a tournament in Fargo, N.D., this weekend. Farmington is scheduling a season of slightly more than one month, beginning July 6.
The Burnsville-based Metro Baseball League, which offers league play for the 9-and-under through 15-and-under age groups, is preparing schedules for a shortened 2020 season. League play is expected to begin July 6.
Although the major summer youth soccer tournaments have been canceled, clubs are still trying to patch together schedules. Salvo Soccer Club, which draws players from several local communities, announced the beginning of its “Phase 4,” which permits games and allows for spectators provided they observe social distancing.
Starting Wednesday the Salvo club began allowing small-sided games, up to 9-vs.-9 at the oldest age levels. According to the club’s website, games initially will be within the Salvo club. The club said it is looking into the possibility of scheduling games with teams from other clubs, with those not expected to begin until after July 4.
BV United Soccer Club, which serves Burnsville and Apple Valley, was to hold an invitational tournament last weekend. It has been moved to July 17-19.
The club volleyball schedule was put on hold in March and eventually wiped out. The Burnsville-based Northern Lights club had to cancel a couple of tournaments it scheduled for early June but is going on with camps and private lessons.
The North American Fastpitch Association will go ahead with a month-long league for teams in the 8U through 18U age levels beginning July 6. Teams would play doubleheaders twice a week. NAFA also will have its series of Northern Nationals tournaments, including the 12U tourney July 16-19 in Eagan and the 18U tournament July 23-26 in Lakeville.
Athletes in individual sports such as golf got the go-ahead to start competing sooner, and the summer junior golf calendar has already started. High school athletes were allowed to return to campus June 15 to begin summer practices. The Minnesota State High School League’s summer waiver period was pushed back two weeks from its scheduled June 1 start while the league sought more COVID-19 related information from state officials.