Games become the goal for athletes clamoring to play soccer amid pandemic

GLENDALE -- The Bavarians Girls 18U Soccer Club played a tournament in Memphis right before getting shut down in March. They and the whole organization are just getting back to business in the COVID-19 sports climate.

"We are in phase 1 of return to play -- training which allows us to have nine players and a coach. So as they come into the stadium or the field, we greet them with our mask on, as we get into activities, we can take our mask off," said Bob  Spielmann, Bavarians coach.

The girls and coaches are doing different things than they would normally be doing in mid-June. But at least they are doing them out on the field.

"Teaching and learning -- there was a lot on Zoom or Google Meet or whatever. And I think a lot of us kind of got Zoomed out at the end," said Brian Weisse, Bavarians coach.

"Like with passing, I always had to find a wall, whereas now having someone to pass to back and forth is a lot easier to keep it moving and for pace of play," said Sophia Anger, Bavarians 18U Player.

"We have an entry point and an exit point. Parents can't, as you can see, there are no parents here and that’s probably a good thing," Spielmann said.

Physical and skill development, to a degree at least, are on display during training sessions. But it is emotional progress that means as much as anything.

"Girls, boys, everybody. I mean they’re just thrilled to be back," Spielmann said.

"It’s really nice to be back out here for sure," Weisse said.

"I can't wait until we get to step 3 and we can get out here and play against each other and body up against some people," Anger said.

Now, games become the goal.