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California Youth Coaches Meet With Governor's Office

Andy Berg

A group of youth coaches in California met with governor Gavin Newsom's office to express their desire to see youth sports return to action, following an indefinite pause related to COVID-19 orders issued in California. 

Patrick Walsh, head football coach at Serra High School in San Mateo, was one of three coaches on a Zoom call with the governor’s executive secretary, Jim DeBoo. The coaches had previously signed a letter asking for the governor to allow kids back on the playing field.

"We let the governor and Mr. DeBoo know where we stand and what our intentions are from our non-political stance of getting kids back on the field," Walsh said in an interview with the Mercury News Monday morning. "It was received well, and now we have to take the next step and have further dialogue to actually get that done."

Walsh told the Mercury News that the coaches made a personal plea to DeBoo, who also had kids in youth sports.

"It's good to know we can have access to the points in government that will actually help us make this decision for the kids," Walsh said, noting that he came away from the call feeling like DeBoo understood what youth coaches and players in California are going through.

Related: California Youth Coaches Pen Letter to Governor 

The Mercury News reports that the California Department of Public Health Monday announced it was rescinding the regional stay-at-home order, under which athletes were allowed to hold distanced workouts but competitions were forbidden. That could pave the way for purple-tier sports to begin competition in all parts of California in the coming weeks, once leagues devise their own plans to return to play.

Last week the same group of coaches delivered a letter to Newsom that argues for a quick reopening of youth sports in California, laying out: infection data collected from other states; workout data from California schools; the mental health impact of not having sports on children; and the unique impacts of not having sports on children living in low-income situations. 

“The current youth sports color tiered system is decoupled from the actual data available,” the coaches wrote. “As a result of this system, the mental health of all children who play youth sports in our state is rapidly deteriorating. This system allows people who can afford private schools, people who live in higher economic districts, and creates a rapidly widening socio-economic disparity among those who can afford a club team that violates the present and travels thousands of people each week outside the state order. To save the youth in California, we demand that youth sports be completely separated from the colored hierarchical system." 

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