Jase Webb (left) and Paisley Perez practice kicking a soccer ball back and forth Monday afternoon during a King City Recreation soccer camp session held in Pine Canyon. (Sean Roney/Staff)

KING CITY — Local youth were able to step out onto the soccer field and practice their skills as King City Recreation began its soccer camp program.

Participants get two hour-long practices per week, but they do not play league games in order to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

“All state and county guidelines for youth sports are being followed,” said Andrea Wasson, recreation coordinator for King City. “Our No. 1 priority is keeping kids safe, Covid or not. We understand kids need sunshine, fresh air and exercise to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and we are glad to offer this opportunity.”

Health guidelines are in effect, including that groups be kept small, with no games between teams, and each child must use their own soccer ball and cannot share equipment. Youth are also required to use hand sanitizer before and after practice, and are told to stay home if they’re sick.

The soccer program comes after Pro Youth ran a summer camp in town. Now, King City youth can work on their soccer skills and get physical fitness at the same time with the new camp run by the city.

Practices take place at the new Aera Soccer Park and in other local parks.

“They are doing drills and then can scrimmage among themselves,” Wasson said. “They have reversible jerseys, so it’s easy to mix the ‘team’ up.”

Wasson noted the response from parents and participants has been great.

“The parents who signed their children up want their kids to have exercise and make new friends,” she said. “The kids need socialization with their own peer groups. We offer this as a way to be safe and get those things. We will continue to be innovative with our programming while following the rules.”

With indoor programs and contact sports not allowed in Monterey County, Wasson said the recreation department isn’t certain how future programs will play out.

“We hope to offer basketball in the winter,” she said.

Once the current soccer program ends, Wasson said the city might do another round or two of soccer camps before shifting to baseball and softball.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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