KVJSA brings organized youth sports back to Kittitas County

David Snyder

David Snyder, Senior Reporter

On September 9, Kittitas County announced it would permit organized recreational youth sports to play this fall under Washington State guidelines for Phase 3. Following a brief delay – due to poor air quality – the Kittitas Valley Junior Soccer Association (KVJSA) kicked off its season last week.

In a press release, the county recognized KVJSA for its safety plan. They said it is “enough to mitigate the harm of COVID-19 at this time.” The plan requires health screenings for players before every game and practice, temperature checks, sanitization of equipment after every use and a gathering limit of 50 people per-field.

With some school districts in the county still doing digital learning, Kittitas County Public Information Officer Kasey Knutson said public health leadership wants children to have physical activities available.

“We know that sports are important for kids – for their physical health, their mental health, their overall well-being,” Knutson said. “So, I think that’s why there was the attempt to move forward with [allowing youth sports].”

KVJSA restructured its league format to accommodate for possible COVID issues and a reduction in participation compared to last year. This year, there are no set teams, instead, all players in an age group practice together. On game days, teams are assigned based on when the player arrives at the field.

Mindy DeLozier, who coaches the U10-11 boys team, said KVJSA is setting an example for other sports programs in the country. 

“[Kids] got to get outside and play, and soccer is such an amazing sport for this because they’re spread out – you don’t use your hands as much,” DeLozier said. “[Playing] is manageable, as long as everyone is willing to help out. And the parents know that and understand our standpoint with COVID…It’s awesome; so good to see the kids out here playing and enjoying themselves.”