First soccer practice of the season kicking off in Little Rock

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The state is continuing to open up businesses and recreational activities around Arkansas and today restrictions were lifted on sports.

Close-contact sports like soccer, football and basketball are limited to individual practices only.

“A little conditioning in, a little fitness in, in their own space that is appropriately distanced from the other players,” said Justin Hawkins, Director of Programming for Arkansas Rising Soccer Club.

Hawkins said all coaches and parents were emailed the guidelines to follow so everyone is on the same page.

Monday, clubs and schools kicked off their first practice with the new guidelines.

“I’m just happy to be out here in the fresh air and getting to do what I love.,” said Davis Smith, Soccer Player.

The Henderson Middle School soccer fields were filled with kids for the first time in months.

“I like that I can get out run and just be free,” said Davis.

12-year-old Davis Smith said his last soccer season was cut short due to COVID-19, so he was excited to lace up some cleats, strap on shin pads and kick the ball around.

“Feels like getting a present on your birthday,” said Davis.

Before showing up to practice Davis and the rest of his teammates had to screen themselves at home, according to the guidelines this needs to be done before every practice.

Some other rules the teams are following include, no shaking hands, no sharing water, no touching any field equipment, following social distancing and parents must remain in the car.

“We read through the guidelines together so that he was full aware of what he could and couldn’t do,” said Scott Smith, Davis’ Dad.

Davis’ dad, Scott Smith said he feels completely safe kicking off this soccer season with the restrictions in place.

Scott said kids adapt fast, however its going to be much harder for parents to watch behind a windshield.

“I’ll still yell, Ill just be 10 feet from the next closest screamer,” said Scott.

No matter the amount of restrictions, number 4 said he’s ready to go.

“We’re getting to start back over and just have a chance to do what we love as a team and win games,” said Davis.

The following email was from the Arkansas Rising Soccer Club to parents, which outlines the rules the teams will be following:


We are planning to go back to practice the week of June 1st.  This is exciting news but there are lots of things that need to be done in order to be ready for next week.  Please take the time to read through everything carefully so we can ensure that we are all on the same page.

At the time of return, the practices will respect the physical distance between players and we will be limited to no more than 20 players in half of the field at the same time.  For now and until we have the appropriate clearance we are not allowed to have contact which means no 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3s.  So what can be done? Activities can include ball mastery, individual skills, passing, receiving, functional training, and physical conditioning.

In order to respect the physical guidelines, we have prepared the training exercises in advance.  Please take the time to familiarize yourself and your player with the session, grids, and rotation.  It would help the players and coaches tremendously if everyone is familiar with these exercises and grids. Should you have any questions in advance, please contact the coaching staff.

We have also prepared players, parents, and coaches’ guidelines that we are recommending for before, during, and after practices. These guidelines will require a cooperative relationship between the club, coach, parent, and player.  

The club and coach must create a safe environment, and the parent must make the decision for their child to return to play.  If, as a parent, you are not comfortable in your child’s return to play, then you should not do so.  Training is optional at this time, and the club will not make any judgment on a personal decision not to train.  Finally, players must be responsible to adhere to and respect the social distancing requirements and guidelines that we have established. Below are a few concepts we will be implementing during this phase.

Use the restroom, wash hands, and take temperature before leaving for the fields.

Keep 10 yards distance when walking to your assigned field.

Go straight to your assigned area and the coach will direct you where to put your items.

Upon arrival, players must place their items on one of the available cones in the designated area.
    No shaking hands or hugging.
    Do not share water.
    Do not touch any field equipment.
    Players are not allowed on the bleachers.
    Parents should remain in their cars to drop off/pick up.
    Training will last for 60 minutes with a 15-minute window in between sessions to prevent large groups.
    All training will be individually based. No scrimmaging or contact with other players.
    The coach will teach/demonstrate from a distance with no contact between players or coaches.”

To see a full list of restrictions from the governor, click here.

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