As the impact of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 cancelled all activities and athletics, the girls soccer teams were unable to compete as they regularly would. Mask mandates were set in, social distancing guidelines commenced from the CDC and the normalcy of doing their day-to-day activities was shut down.
Though the girls soccer team were unsure if they were going to be able play in the spring of 2021, Omaha Public Schools announced their approval of spring sports, allowing them to play after last year’s postponement.
Despite being able to play this season, the pandemic’s on-going spread has caused a new set of rules when it comes to playing on the field.
“COVID-19 has had a pretty big impact on this season. A lot of the stuff we usually get to do as a team, like initiation and team bus rides, we don’t get to do. We do have to wear masks during practices but not while we play games. When we are on the sideline of games, we do try to social distance,” junior Taya Baker said.
Although COVID-19 has changed the look of this season, it didn’t stop players from preparing for this season and for higher level athletics in the future.
“Throughout the winter the team prepared for the season with conditioning sessions and open gym time just to get some touches on the ball. Once we got in season we began preparing with more specific and realistic goals in mind with scrimmages and half field work,” senior Alyssa Judkins said.
As the girls came back together after their long time off, their practices got them back into the routine of what they missed out on last season, working and playing harder to get prepared for their competition.
“I think this year everyone we play will be a big competition for us. Usually Central is our rival, but we might not play them this year. I think one of the biggest things for us to help prepare for everyone we have to play is just to keep working on game-like situations and watching film,” Baker said.
Due to the pandemic, the girls also have to add new adjustments to their practices as they had extra restrictions to stop the spread of COVID.
“We will be wearing masks during practice and with any indoor activities as well as practicing social distancing, but with soccer being on such a big space and outdoors, it allows us some leniency like not wearing them during games,” Judkins said.
The team’s current record is 8-9 with some tough wins against Lewis Central, Benson, Mercy, Northwest and others, they continue to put all of their energy into each practice in order to perform their best.
Judkins, who recently committed to Creighton University to play soccer in the fall of 2021, feels that Burke has helped her improve in her soccer skills and has brought her to where she is today.
“I think high school soccer, although much different from the next level, can be seen as a mini experience of what college soccer can be. You have to come in as a freshman and be ready to compete for your spot or contribute in any way you can. It teaches you to appreciate every moment on the field and to work harder everyday to get your minutes,” Judkins said.
Baker, who recently committed to Augustana University to play soccer in the fall of 2022 believes that soccer has allowed her to grow as a player and become a leader, which will help her as she goes on to play at college level.