GERMANTOWN, Md. - Montgomery County soccer players confront possibility of fall without soccer.
It’s a bitter sweet return to the SoccerPlex in Germantown for 12-year-old Alina Mussio.
And you can say Alina and her brother Nick eat, breathe and sleep soccer.
But in the era of COVID-19, not only did they miss out on the spring season, they may not have a fall season either.
“I was just mad and sad and I still can’t believe it,” she said.
Their mom, Angela, is writing a letter to Montgomery County health officials about why she believes soccer shouldn’t be on their list of high-risk sports.
“I don’t understand why our teams can go like ten minutes up the road to Frederick and play there or cross over to Howard county,” Mussio said.
Mussio says that while she realizes the county is only doing its best to keep people healthy and safe, she just wishes they’d consider loosening restrictions on a sport that’s more than just playing on the field.
“Forgive me for being so emotional but it’s really taking away an outlet that’s important for their mental health, honestly I just don’t see the justification,” Mussio said.
And it’s not just parents and soccer players who are upset.
Organizers with the SoccerPlex are also sending a letter to the county emphasizing that sports don’t have as high of a transmission rate as health officials say. Not only that, they’re concerned about the monetary hit the restrictions continue to cause for the facility.
“We are looking at a million to $2 million dollar loss for the year, we haven’t had a full functional operation since March,” said Maryland SoccerPlex Executive Director Matt Libber.
The county indicated that it’s sympathetic, but they’re trying to navigate the tricky terrain created by COVID-19.
“They’re not easy decisions and we realize that two reasonable people can make two different decisions about the level of risk but we continue to promise to evaluate them,” said Earl Stoddard, Director of Montogmery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
The other part of the argument is lacrosse and field hockey being on the medium risk list for COVID-19 transmission, which some parents say are two activities that are also a contact sport.
County health officials say they will visit the topic next week.