AWC men's soccer anticipates on-time start of preseason.
Arizona Western College men's soccer is one of the area programs that will soon find out the fate of the upcoming Fall season.
The Matadors are awaiting word from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Junior College Athletics Association, as well as the Arizona Community College Athletics Conference in regards to the how the pending season could play out with the current Coronavirus Pandemic still in play.
For Mats head coach Kenny Dale, he's choosing to hope for the best:
"I remain optimistic that we will have a season, and I'm planning that. We're planning a preseason and getting everything lined up as if it's going to be business as usual in certain aspects and kind of a new normal in other aspects."
But this hope isn't without it's challenges.
Following current health and safety guidelines, Dale has the challenge of bringing back returning student athletes and brand new recruits into the fold by the start of August.
Some of his players are from countries around the world that have their own visa requirement that would allow them to get to the United States, on top of the stricter regulations in place due to the pandemic.
Another potential concern is how the game of soccer could change because of all the social distancing in place; would it depreciate the quality of the game?
Dale actually believes that it could make the game even better.
"We could be looking at a situation where the quality of play goes up because we are doing our training or teaching, as it were in a group of eight players, rather than 16, 20 or 24. So, I think it could be a positive. I'm excited about the challenge. I think that it could really change the way we do things maybe moving forward permanently. I'm really excited and I think the quality will change. But, it may go up if we are working with fewer groups of players; groups of fewer players."
As it stands right now, preseason practices for the Mats are scheduled to begin on August 1st.
The NJCAA is expected to make an announcement on June 19th about the future of the Fall season for all junior college programs, including AWC.