What life has been like for a youth football team during lockdown

Youth football has been out of action since lockdown started, here Roffey Robins Atletico manager Ricardo Moratalla talks about what it has been like for youth football coaches and the players during this tough time.

By mid March we all knew what was coming and that there would soon be a cessation of youth football.

It was just a matter of when.

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On Thursday March 12, I met with my coaches to plan the last third of the season.

Roffey Robins Atletico

Towards the end of the meeting the news notifications came through that Mikel Arteta has been diagnosed with the virus and that the Albion v Arsenal game for the weekend had been postponed.

That weekend we took the team to St George’s Park, the training HQ of the FA and on the following Monday we held a training session, as usual.

The team trained with the same intensity as usual, although in our hearts we knew it would be the last session for some time. One of the parents confirmed it, the FA had announced during training, a suspension to all grass roots football.

And that was that. The next week we went into lockdown and all of us were confined to our homes. The season was subsequently called off and we waited.

The early days of lockdown were tough for all of us as we adjusted to our new home routines.

Some of the boys followed Youtube training drills in their gardens or drives and others took a break. From a management perspective, the toughest part was looking out of the window and seeing the perfect footballing weather conditions.

The seemingly endless rain that started in October decimated the season, with pitches waterlogged and many games postponed.

We could have been playing catch up, but it was not to be.

A few weeks into lockdown, we brought the team together with a Zoom quiz which was a huge success and we have followed that up with daily strength and conditioning sessions on Zoom and have continued our normal Monday evening training with sessions devised for the players to participate in from their gardens.

In terms of what next, we all cross our fingers and hope that we can safely return to some kind of normality. Plans are already underway for next season and will adapt our training plans in line with advice from the Government and FA.

And as soon as we can introduce some kind of training again, we will be there, working with our players so that they can prepare as well.