Columbus County Parks and Recreation soccer has been cancelled for the fall season.
In an email today (Thursday), county spokeswoman Amanda Prince said today that the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases among children has been linked to the return of local kickers and their coaches. Parks and Rec director Julie Strickland contacted coaches with the news.
“Due to increased volume of positive COVID19 cases, quarantine restrictions throughout our program and overall high number of positive cases in Columbus County,” Strickland wrote to the coaches, “it is with much regret to announce that as of this afternoon, the 2021 Fall Soccer Season has been cancelled. The safety and overall well-being of our participants, coaches, referees and spectators is our top priority.”
“I am very sorry that this has happened as we all want our children actively involved and playing,” Strickland wrote. “Unfortunately, the season had to be cancelled due to an outbreak with our soccer teams and their coaches.
“Just yesterday over 50 players and coaches, which represents over 20 percent of the total number of soccer players, were exposed and will be required to quarantine.”
As of Tuesday, Strickland said, the county had more than 145 new cases of COVID in patients ages 0-17.
“That number is increasing daily especially as a result of the exposure with the soccer teams.”
Refunds will be issued to participants, and the county asked that all coaches return team socks and equipment by Sept. 17. Uniforms are also to be picked up from the Parks and Rec office.
The cancellation was the second big headline involving youth and COVID today. County schools spokesman Kelly Jones said that due to an outbreak at Williams Township, the school will go all virtual Sept. 3-10. South Columbus will return to in-person instruction Sept. 7.