Football parents explain importance to allow kids to play again amid Covid-19 pandemic

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City...

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City Crusaders FC amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Here, Rachael’s sons Jacob (left) and Isaac. Picture: SUPPLIED/RACHAEL HEFFER - Credit: Archant

Clear communication, simple measures and staying connected are just some of the reasons why two parents have been willing to let their children return to playing football during Covid-19.

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City...

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City Crusaders FC amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Here, Kate's son Will. Picture: SUPPLIED/KATE HOLMES - Credit: Archant

There have been examples where grassroots and non-league clubs are perhaps anxious about whether they can stay safe if they play in light of the pandemic.

But for two mothers, their views are clear-cut.

Kate Holmes’ son Will has played for Ely City Crusaders since 2015 and when lockdown came, he was lost without football.

“He is such an active boy and whilst we tried to keep him fit at home, it wasn’t the same and his enthusiasm soon started to disappear. He was lost without his Saturday games and training,” Kate said.

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City...

Kate Holmes and Rachael Heffer are two parents that have been willing to let their children return to playing for Ely City Crusaders FC amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Here, Will and Isaac in their kitsl. Picture: SUPPLIED/KATE HOLMES - Credit: Archant


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“We felt it was hugely important for the boys to be back together. It does wonders for their mental health and confidence.”

Rachael Heffer, whose sons Jacob and Isaac joined the club aged five, now play for Crusaders’ under 10s and 12s teams and have had a positive experience so far.

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“We as a family were very keen to see both of our boys re-engage with both of their Ely City teams and resume training as soon as possible,” she said.

“We tried to keep their fitness up with kickarounds as part of our daily exercise, but obviously it wasn’t as rigorous as their normal footie training pattern!”

During lockdown, the club has been keeping in touch with players and their families through ways such as a collated birthday video over Zoom as well as virtual skill challenges.

Since being allowed to play again, families have also been told what protocols are in place to keep their children safe ahead of their return.

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“Protocols were put in place and have been easy to adapt to,” Kate said.

“Parents are asked to keep their distance on the sidelines, the usual procedures. The club were keen to ensure this was put in place so that the children could return safely.”

Rachael also agrees, and without this communication, she may have been more hesitant.

“The communication was clear and timely, telling us as parents what was needed to keep the players and parents safe in light of the new guidelines,” she said.

“Seeing it in action from day one of their training sessions reassured us that the club had put a lot of care and attention into thinking through safety and procedures to make play for the teams both safe and fun again.”

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