Saints Football Restart
After a long break, we are back. Here is what we have been up to over the last few weeks:
Preseason 2020 was certainly like no other. Football began on the 24th of August as nearly 80 players returned early for training. As one of the first clubs that was granted permission to train for preseason, football had to set the standard for the new COVID-19 protocol that would be used by everyone else throughout the rest of the semester. As athletes arrived at training, they would be required to fill out a track and trace form, have their temperature taken, sanitize their hands, follow the one-way system, and remain socially distanced from other athletes until the training began.
Club kit this year reached an all-time high with members getting quarter zips, water-proof jackets, and training kit with a new design. Some even chose to purchase saints football masks which can now be seen all around town! The online store is also up and running, so players, parents, or alumni can now buy almost anything saints football! https://www.macronstore.com/dundee/a0695-university-of-st-andrews-football-club
After going almost six months without competitive football, everyone was loving the chance to be back playing!
After two weeks of preseason, tryouts began, and it was the club’s most successful year yet! Nearly 150 athletes tried out, firmly cementing football’s place as the university’s largest athletic club. This made it more clear than ever we still have plenty of growth left as we add up to five male competitive groups along with the emergence of a fourth female group to cope with the massive demand for membership.
All of the men’s and women’s groups have been consistently training two – three times a week since September. Football has faced very few challenges with handling COVID-19, and this can largely be attributed to the club’s precautions and the responsible behavior of the athletes to protect the community and football in St Andrews. Each team continues to fill out track and trace forms, sanitize equipment, and clean hands when training. Practices have been fun and competitive, but everyone is itching to get back to playing games.
Inter-club matches have begun! Men’s and women’s squads started competitive competition last week and we have had some great games so far involving the Women’s 1s, 2s and Men’s 3s,4s,5s and 6s. We have also had a first for the programme in which a men’s 7th team took on another new team to emerge this season in the form of the men’s 8th team. It has been great having the game day feel about university park again and this will continue to be rolled out in the coming weeks for all teams across the programme.
The club is also looking to enhance the games programme in the coming weeks which will hopefully be able to include some external opposition subject to approval any change in guidelines.
While this year has been particularly difficult for all athletes and students, freshers have been given the biggest challenge yet of adjusting to a University in a time like this. The football club rose to this challenge by creating a system to support freshers called the Buddy Scheme. This project pairs a fresher with a returning player and immediately gives them a friend from a higher year. Athletes have been getting coffee, talking over zoom, going on walks (always in accordance with COVID rules), and taking the opportunity to make the freshers feel welcome.
The club is in high spirits as we enter the second half of the first semester, and we are still focused on playing as much football as possible while still protecting our community and each other. Look for more updates soon!