Soccer coaches have slim hope to get in some summer action

By Brian Hoffman, sports editor

Time is running out as chances are now slim and none that any kind of high school sports will be played this year, even in the summer. And, Slim is still social distancing.

For the Byrd soccer programs it’s a disappointing scenario. Russell Dishman was excited about his first year as boys’ coach and Molly Cox had a promising roster of girls.

“It is a very challenging time and uncharted times for us all,” said Dishman.  “I have been sending messages through our communication apps as well as social media. I’ve found different training resources that they can do on their own at home so they can stay active and keep their touch.”

Dishman has eight seniors, Nathan Patrick, Zach Howard, Gavin Chrisley, Josiah Elmore, Jack Halliwell, Isaac Howard, Bryant Humphries and Spike Purcell.  Those boys may have played their last game for William Byrd.

“I am optimistic that we will be able to play in some way shape or form,” said Dishman. “Hopefully if people follow the guidelines to reduce risk and transmissions we have a better chance of getting back to normal earlier.  The playing options may be well into the summer, which presents some challenges if we can do it – but any chance given is better than nothing.”

Cox has six seniors, Kelly O’Connor, Emily Purcell, Emily Nicely, Caroline Faulkner, Skylar Mathis and Kayla Witt.

“We have had such a beautiful spring so far, it is such a shame that we are unable to play,” said Cox. “I am in touch with my athletes a little bit, mainly through our Team App and Twitter. I really hope we get the chance to play a little bit this summer but with the Governor’s announcement I’m afraid our chances are getting slimmer. I was excited that the VHSL did not immediately make a decision and are waiting until May to see how it all plays out.”

Cox has reached out to other coaches in the valley for possible scenarios.

“I have talked to other Roanoke County coaches about proposing an idea to the county about the county schools being allowed to do a tournament or something if there is no solution made from VHSL,” she said.

Dishman, who has lots of irons in soccer fires around the valley, has been able to stay busy during the pandemic.

“I’ve taken opportunities to find coaches education opportunities and plan for when we can get back on the field,” he said. “I am constantly searching for any new information and trying to pass it along to other coaches as well as the players.

“I’m also trying to improve a new language . I’m trying to get better at understanding Greek.”

You might say this virus is all Greek to most folks.


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