By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Just like the rest of Baylor athletics, the women’s club soccer team is having to cope with a rapidly changing season due to the effects of the coronavirus. But unlike its Division I counterpart, the club team will have to wait until the spring to compete.
“It’s definitely a bummer,” junior co-captain Taylor Burbank said. “We all came expecting to play club soccer in the fall.”
Baylor alerted the captains of all club sports on August 13th via email that the season would be modified and the club officers would have to submit a “return to play” plan before the clubs could begin practicing again.
In the email, Robert Graham, associate director for campus recreations, detailed that the plan needed to include specific “steps and procedures” that the club could adhere to in compliance with the CDC and local government.
First-year head coach Smith Getterman said that the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the situation has been tough on the team.
“It’s hard mentally and emotionally, because you want to be out there,” Getterman said. “We want to be out there playing the sport and doing all the things that go with it.”
While the circumstances have been difficult, Getterman emphasized that the team’s seniors have stepped up in a major way to lead the team through the pandemic.
Due to the season being moved to the spring, circumstances such as internships and other work opportunities have meant that some seniors will be unable to play. However, those seniors have remained adamant about practicing with the team in the fall.
“These senior captains and the other seniors on the team have really stepped up and said, ‘Even if I can’t play in the spring, I will be there for practice,’” Getterman said. “That goes a long way in a situation like this.”
The team currently plans to begin practicing on Sept. 7. Burbank said the team will be following COVID protocols that have been set in place by the Baylor’s women’s soccer program.
“Our coach [Getterman] has talked to the Baylor soccer coach Paul Jobson about specific drills and what their practices look like,” Burbank said. “We are going to try and mirror what the NCAA soccer team is doing.”
Despite the various changes and restrictions, Burbank said the team is staying positive and looking at the bright side.
“There are a few positives to come out of it,” Burbank said. “We are going to get 3 months of practice and team bonding before the games start which we didn’t have before at all.”
Getterman is also viewing the delay as a blessing, as it gives him a chance to adapt to his new position.
“It gives me more time to meet the players and get to know them better,” Getterman said. “I get to know there personalities better which always helps when you are putting together a team on the field.”
Getterman said playing soccer this season will be the “easiest part” and that keeping his team focused amidst the pandemic will be the main challenge.
“The biggest challenge is making sure that our players are engaged with each other and locked in mentally,” Getterman said. “Getting them to understand that they are committing to each other and to this team and through that commitment we do expect you to hold yourself and your behavior above everybody else.”
Getterman added that in the fall the team will focus on fitness and team bonding and even though the timing of the season has changed, the ultimate goal hasn’t.
“Ultimately the goal is to get to nationals,” Getterman said.