It looks like the soccer cleats will be staying in the closet for a little while longer. The Acushnet Youth Soccer Association has canceled the upcoming recreational season due to low enrollment.

However, there may be hope for soccer lovers in the coming months.

The AYSA met Sunday evening to discuss the fall season, which is quickly approaching, and the association made the tough call to outright cancel the season. I got a chance to speak with the President of the Association, Paulo Macaroco, who is heartbroken over the decision.

He explained to me that online registration has been open since April and they typically average about 600 hundred kids for the season. On July 24, the numbers were at a mere 100. In hopes to gain some more players, the league hosted an on-site registration, but disappointment struck again when only 19 people showed up.

“We gave it until August 1, but the numbers just weren’t there,” Macarocco said. “A lot of parents are still unsure as to what they will be doing with their children for schooling and some people are still afraid to participate in events or unsure about guidelines with sports.”

He informed me that soccer is still categorized as a “moderate level” sport in the eyes of the state when it comes to COVID concerns, and he understands that soccer is a contact sport, making the season a tough one to pull off, and added, “I can’t expect these kids to keep their masks on while playing.”

“We were in the process of making guidelines if we were to go through with the season. Nothing was set in stone just yet, but we were excited for the challenge," Macaroco said.

Here is the good news: Macaroco has plans to move forward with the travel program.

“For the recreational league, it’s difficult because all of the players participate on one field," he said. "But for the club league, they have access to several fields in the area, making it easier to control the players and the surroundings.”

Just like everything else in 2020, these plans are not set in stone, but Macaroco hopes to have players on the field (for practice, at least) at some point this fall.

And Macaroco had one message for the youth athletes.

“We really hope that everyone comes back next year, strong and healthy, and we hope to have the support of the families on the SouthCoast in 2021," he said.

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