Youth football conditioning on hold because of pandemic

COVID-19 strikes again in the world of sports.

Because of the rise in cases in Florida over the past week, the Northwest Florida Youth Sports Alliance announced over the weekend it is shutting down offseason conditioning for football for three weeks. The Navarre Youth Sports Association football program is part of the league. The league features teams in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

With the shutdown, the official first day of practice has been pushed to Aug. 17 after originally scheduled to start July 27. The first day of the regular season is Sept. 5.

Florida has seen 5,000 or more cases each day since June 24 and the surge has put sports teams in a difficult position.

While football is shut down, other athletic activity at NYSA is continuing for the moment.

“At this point, we have no plans to shut down any other ongoing sports programs,” NYSA President Paul Villanova said. “With that said, please realize that this situation is fluid and changes are happening daily.”

Two camps are planned for later this month. The NYSA is holding a football camp with the high school, and that has now been moved to the week of July 20. It was originally scheduled for July 13-15.

A soccer camp is planned for July 27-30 at the NYSA Soccer Complex. That camp will be run by Navarre United and high school soccer coaches Rob Simon and James Baccarini. Simon coaches the varsity girls team at Navarre and Baccarini is the new head coach of the varsity boys team.

Villanova said NYSA is moving forward with caution. 

“We are proceeding with caution and are keeping the best interests and health of our athletes and their families at the forefront,” Villanova said.

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