For the past seven seasons, Wiscasset boys’ soccer coach Chris Cossette has emphasized a ball control offense. The coach believes if his team possesses the ball then opponents can’t score. On Sept. 14, Cossette continued teaching that philosophy in a different format. Wiscasset Middle High School has opted out of the Maine Principals Association boys’ and girls’ season due to health concerns stemming from COVID-19. Instead, a fall soccer program stressing skill development was implemented.
On day one, 22 players attended the two-hour clinic. Aidan Foley played on the boys’ team last season. “Soccer is my favorite sport so obviously, I’m disappointed,” he said. “But it’s good to be out here hanging out with your friends and still being able to play the sport you love,” he said.
Due to MPA guidelines, the session began 30 minutes prior to any soccer-related activities. Athletes were screened by answering a series of health-related questions, including whether athletes had a fever or experienced any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Cossette is expecting more players to participate. The program had a total of 30, both female and male, students sign up. Cossette is running the program, with two assistants Megan Cope and Kiera Hunter. The program runs Monday through Friday for two hours until mid-October. “We’re trying to run it like a normal season except for the social distancing and masks. It’s challenging, but I’m glad the kids still have a chance to continue playing the sport,” Cossette said.
On Sept. 10, the MPA and several state agencies announced their “Return to Competition for Competitive Athletics and Activities in Maine” plan. Maine high school field hockey and soccer teams were allowed to play a 10-game regional schedule without a postseason playoff format. Wiscasset and Camden Hills are among the schools which opted out of the fall season prior to the MPA ruling.