AFTER wrapping up the 2019 Limestone Coast Football Association season as the bridesmaid in the A Grade competition, the postponement of the 2020 campaign was a disappointment for the Apollo Soccer Club.
A Grade co-coach Jamie Stephenson said all teams had a solid pre-season behind them and were raring to go, but now all operations have been put on hold.
That pre-season was fuelled by the desire to have another chance at premiership glory.
“We did not expect to even make the grand final last year and obviously we did not play well on the big day, so that is enough hunger to get your team through the summer and ready to go again,” Stephenson said.
“We were definitely feeling good and the boys were feeling pretty confident.”
With the uncertainty of when – or if – soccer will be played this year, Stephenson said a window of opportunity could be opened for a shorter format of competition.
“There are obviously opportunities now – depending on how the time frame works out,” he said.
“Maybe the league can look at the options of playing a summer league or playing a cup-style round robin – just to keep teams going.”
However, those decisions will be made when more information is available.
The closure of clubs can cause a financial strain, but Stephenson said Apollo is under no more pressure than anyone else.
“We do not have a lot of bigger functions outside of the soccer circles anyway, so with our board and what we do at Apollo, I definitely think we can come out of it at the other end,” he said.
“A lot of your outlays – like lights at training – throughout a soccer season have gone down a bit anyway because you will not be using them.”
He said it is times like these which put life into perspective.
“It is not about soccer any more, it is about staying healthy and being with your family,” Stephenson said.
“For me as a coach it is man management as well – to make sure everyone at Apollo is staying positive, no matter what type of situations they are in.
“Hopefully everyone remains positive with their teams.”
Stephenson said outside of a few drill posts on the club’s social media, at this stage it has been left up to players to maintain their fitness, with no strict training protocols enforced.
“You cannot really demand them to do their own activities, it is only amateur sport, but you just hope they all keep talking and stay together,” he said.
“If the time comes at some stage in the year where we can go and have a kick again, I think all the boys will be really excited and raring to go.”