Club sports at the University of Connecticut are back this semester, with teams operating in person and traveling, after previous seasons marred by COVID-19.
Last year, club athletes relied on Zoom calls with teammates and independent training to supplement a lost season. With a virtual involvement fair, club members did their best to reach out to potential athletes and provide them with as much information about their teams as possible, hoping they would remain interested and sign up when athletics returned.
“Last year, we were unable to have a season at all and the only events we could hold were Zoom meetings in place of an in-person involvement fair. However, we still had a decent amount of girls interested in information about our team which was encouraging to see,” Ashley Yang, president and co-captain of the women’s club soccer team, said. “Since we are playing outside for the foreseeable future, I feel that we can have a fun and safe season.”
Yang’s team, among other outdoor club sports, will operate at full capacity, including travel.
“I am grateful that our club sports adviser and management team have been working to ensure we have a season, and a safe one at that,” said Yang. “Currently, I have been told that our club soccer team will be operating to the full capacity of a normal season, including travel. I was informed that if teams can come play us for home games, then the logic follows that we can go ahead and play away games.”
Sarah Sommer, a seventh-semester captain and coxswain on the men’s crew team, is ready to get back on the water and reunite with her team in-person after having to adjust to many changes under COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our team was unable to operate last year, so we were all very excited to hear that we would be practicing together and competing this year. Members kept up their fitness independently while we were not functioning, and so far this season we have already seen a lot of team improvement because of that,” Sommer said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is minimal risk of transfer when operating outdoors. Teams will continue to maintain proper precautions while indoors. Athletes who become sick or develop symptoms are encouraged to stay home or distance themselves and receive COVID testing if necessary.
Sommer added, “We have consulted with Eastern Highlands Health District and are taking cues from rowing teams that operated last year in order to ensure a safe and fun season for all of our team members.”