There will be no beautiful game in Napanee this summer.
After waiting as long as they could to make a final decision, Greater Napanee Soccer Club announced June 16 they had officially cancelled the season due to COVID-19.
“We’ve been debating over it for at least a couple of months now, we felt like we got to this avenue where it felt like there should be a deadline where if we pass that threshold, we won’t be able to actually hold a season,” said GNSC president Billy Camperlino. “We were looking at different kinds of formats of making a season accessible, however it’s not just up to us. Ontario Soccer and Health Canada and all the other entities that are involved, we have to see and wait for them to make a decision.”
After delaying the start of the season several times, by mid June it became clear there would be no games.
“Right now as we stand, (the Ontario government) are allowing up to 10 people on the field for training only,” noted Camperlino. “In our last meeting we decided we don’t feel like it would be fair for the parents to pay the full fee for just training. And not only that we don’t have the fields, the town is not renting the fields right now.”
Camperlino says he fully support’s the government’s decision and notes even though there have been very few cases in the Lennox and Addington area, it’s better to err on the side of caution and do their part to keep those numbers down.
Families who paid for a season will be contacted about getting a full refund.
“It’s just unfortunate,” added Camperlino. “We were looking forward to a good season. There was a lot going on, we were working on getting our coaches trained so we can up the level of soccer in town. That also didn’t go well because the training was being done through Ontario Soccer and they had to cancel it. It was going to happen in town, but we had to cancel it.”
GNSC was planning to further build on its affiliation with the Kingston United Soccer Club of the Ontario Player Development League. GNSC coaches are instructed to recommend any players they feel could move up a level and compete with the Kingston club.
Looking even further down the road, Camperlino said this season was going to be used to further the development of coaches here in Napanee with an eye towards turning this area into a soccer centre on par with the communities around it.
“I’ve seen some kids that have the talent where they could go to the next level,” said Camperlino. “Unfortunately when that happens, I have to direct them somewhere else, for example the Kingston United Club. Why not have something like that here in town? We are between Belleville and Kingston. That’s a big hub. We can have soccer really booming here in Napanee. I really want our coaches, though it’s strictly volunteering, getting them trained would be great for everyone.”
More certified coaches wouldn’t just help the local soccer program but athletics as a whole, as the coaching skills can transfer to a wide array of youth sports.
With no outdoor season, Camperlino says he’s exploring the option of running indoor programs over the winter at Napanee District Secondary School. Any concrete plans for an indoor program would be announced through the GNSC’s Facebook page.