BENNINGTON — After his team's first practice on Tuesday, Mount Anthony boys soccer coach Mike Molloy reminded his team to stay apart while they stretched.
It's just one of many new things that Vermont sports teams have to be aware of as fall sports practice began
"We communicated with them, here's the protocols and rules and no one has said that they don't want to do it," Molloy said. "Everyone is here because they want to play soccer. They are willing to do what is asked of them."
Vermont schools and athletics were stopped on March 13, as the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States. After a spring season cancelled, and many meetings over the summer from the governor's office on down, many weren't sure even a month ago if Tuesday and the opening fall practices would come.
"The boys are excited, I heard a lot of, 'It's time, it's finally here,' Molloy said. "We're used to starting in the middle of August, this is almost a month after we were going to start. They are ready to go."
Other major differences include the schedule, which is truncated this season. The boys are scheduled to start Sept. 24 at Rutland, as long as the state moves into Phase III to be allowed to face teams from other schools.
"It'll take a little while and it's a little daunting because it's a shorter preseason and season," Molloy said. "Everything is packed in, so we'll have to get going pretty quickly. A lot of the guys did work during the summer to stay in shape the best they could."
Players will be required to wear face masks, even in the field of play. On Tuesday, every player had their face mask on and ready.
"It'll take some getting used to, but they'll figure it out pretty quickly," Molloy said. "As coaches, we're trying to do it so they'll follow what we're doing."
Molloy said that 31 players between JV and varsity came out for tryouts.
"Numbers are good and who we expected would be there was," Molloy said. "They know what's coming."