NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Matt Chapman is used to coaching the boys and girls soccer teams at Normal Community High School.
Just not at the same time.
“Definitely a challenge. It’s a fun challenge, glad to have a challenge happening,” Chapman said. “It’s not what we’d like, not ideal but it is something. So we’ll take it.”
Two days a week, his boys and girls soccer teams are practicing together. Typically, the boys would be in-season now and the girls would play in the spring.
But the new COVID schedule created by the Illinois High School Association moved the boys season to spring and the girls to summer. Their seasons will have some overlap in April but Chapman plans to coach it all.
“Whatever that looks like, we’ll make it happen,” Chapman said of his spring schedule. “Right now I have a little visual in my head but with everything going on right now, you can’t put too much down on paper because it’s probably going to change.”
The IHSA allowed high school teams 20 days of practice with their coaches this fall. That makes the situation at Normal Community interesting: two teams, one coach.
But the players say they’re having a blast trying to get better under these circumstances.
“I like playing with the boys personally because I feel for the girls it’s an opportunity to get better since we missed playing and training this summer (due to the pandemic),” said senior Ryann Anderson, a star on the Lady Iron. “We’re making the best of it.”
Anderson didn’t have a spring season, it was canceled during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s weird because I’m not used to playing with girls but I don’t see much of a difference,” senior Justin Bruso said of the combined practices. “It’s a unique opportunity.”
The stage is set for a memorable soccer spring at Normal Community. After a memorable set-up for fall practice.