Triboro looks to get kids back in action
After a year of pandemic restrictions and virtual education, parents seeking a way to get their children active and outside this spring may find that Triboro Soccer Club is the answer to the winter blues. Playing soccer will allow children to get some much needed vitamin D, while burning off their endless energy, and parents can also get exercise if they choose to volunteer as coaches.
Most players for Triboro are from Whitehall, Northampton, Catasauqua, South Whitehall, Allentown, Bethlehem and Bath, though there are no residency requirements.
Tara Mrazik, Triboro vice-president, said the club has been working on ways to keep soccer families safe during COVID-19, while giving children an outlet during these difficult times.
“As a teacher and coach, I have seen firsthand how many children have lost their enthusiasm for activities that once brought them so much joy,” she said.
After a decline in membership in the fall of 2020, Triboro is trying to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, with this year’s theme being “score some fun in 2021.” Mrazik said the theme was chosen with the hope that the community will see this spring as “a new year full of new opportunities for happiness.”
“Children are feeling down. They are so overwhelmed by the stress of the past year that it almost takes too much energy to try and have some fun,” Mrazik said. “I talk to young people all day who say they are really bored. Bored from having to be online most of the time, bored from not having many social events to participate in, bored from winter, bored from a no thrills existence.”
“Even in the few moments when kids are presented with an opportunity to do something normal, their reaction or experience is less than normal. It makes me sad,” she said.
There are three levels of soccer, including in-house U6 for ages four through six; a recreation league for ages six through eighteen; and a travel team for ages eight through eighteen. Registration began Feb. 1 and will continue until teams are filled, or until April 1 for U6 players. Families can go to www.triborosoccer.org and click on the registration tab, where they will be directed to the “got soccer” registration database and will then create an account and pay online.
The U6 group costs $110 and includes two shirts, which are used as uniforms. The recreation level is $90. There is an up-to-date closed/open link on their website, so parents can see which teams still have spots. Most practices begin March 15, except U6, which starts in April.
Sign-ups for children who want to participate in the 2021 fall season will be able to do so in May.
“Organized sports allow children the opportunity to be a part of a team, a part of an organization, a part of something bigger than themselves,” Mrazik said. “It allows them to focus solely on what is in front of them, rather than allowing the burden of the outside world to creep in.”
In order to keep players and their families safe, Triboro has developed a COVID-19 action plan based on Eastern PA Youth Soccer Association policies, including the requirement that players, spectators and coaches wear masks at games. riboro is complying with other rules by providing gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, cones for individual stations and a COVID-19 symptom screening questionnaire for players before practices and games. Their fields are also large enough to allow for proper social distancing.
Triboro will be holding regular soccer games this year, and parents can attend, along with siblings if necessary. However, they are trying to keep crowd sizes to a minimum. According to Mrazik, the club is monitoring the current recommendations from health professionals, so they can make any necessary adjustments to protocol.
According to Mrazik, in order for their program to succeed, the organization needs community support. They are greatly in need of adult volunteer coaches, as they have over 60 children registered so far. No experience is necessary, and training and resources are available to anyone looking to take on the role.
“We have players wanting to come back and play, but we do not have enough coaches to field teams. The worst feeling is knowing that we have families ready to return and not enough coaches to lead them,” Mrazik said.
Mrazik said community support can also come from liking their updated @triborosc Facebook page and following their new account @triborosoccerclub Instagram, because social media helps spread the word that their program is available to children.