Unable to schedule practices or games with numerous health restrictions in place, Sequim’s two largest youth sports leagues have called off their 2020 spring seasons.
In an email sent to player parents/guardians on June 10, Sequim Little League president Nick Simpson announced the league would cancel its 2020 season after weeks of deliberation among the league’s board members.
The announcement came about three weeks after Sequim Junior Soccer leaders announced its organization would cancel its spring 2020 season to focus on its select soccer season and adult summer season later this year.
Sequim Little League’s season would have started with Opening Day activities in mid-April.
Simpson said that with the state’s “Safe Start” restrictions in place the Little League’s James Standard Park could only host five persons at a time — four players and a coach — and that with most District 2 Little League organizations cancelling their seasons as well, Sequim would have a hard time scheduling games.
While some board members and volunteers/parents wanted to get a season going, Simpson said a league survey indicated there wasn’t a consensus to do so.
“It was a very difficult decision with many things to consider … such as, whether we would have teams to play, how many people could gather and group sizes, whether we could keep kids safe and if our volunteers were available into the summer and fall,” Simpson said in the email. “Unfortunately, after a coach survey and three district meetings we concluded that 2020 wouldn’t be the season we dreamt of when we started planning last October.”
Simpson said that because Sequim Little League would lose about $5,000 if each family requested a full refund, he and the board are asking parents to consider other options: making their registration payment a donation, or to apply the credit to the 2021 season (minus jersey cost, as uniforms have already been purchased).
“Canceling poses some challenges; our league relies heavily on sponsorship and registration fees to produce the season,” he wrote. “We have been financially secure year to year, with a little reserve to carry forward for times like these and for big investments. This hardship can be lessened if you, our baseball and softball family can help. With your support we will be in a better position for the 2021 season.”
Parents should respond by June 30 or the league will consider the registration fee a donation, Simpson wrote.
Jersey pick-up and refunds will be distributed as early as July 1, he said, depending on when overall restrictions are eased.
“We anticipate refunds and jersey pick-up no later than July 15; however it will be based on phasing standards,” Simpson wrote.
He said the league is looking to host a Family Fun Night at the ballfields when Washington state enters Phase 4 of the “Safe Start” and are looking at options for “sandlot-style” games.
Sequim Junior Soccer’s season had nearly 450 boys and girls out for play in 2019, but all plans were on hold this year when schools shut down in mid-March.
SJS league president David Henderson sent an email to the league’s player families in May 24, announcing the season’s cancellation and intent to focus on summer adult programs and select seasons, and the league’s fall 2020 campaign.
The league would only be able to put players and coaches on fields in Phase 4 of Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan, he wrote.
“Over the last couple of months Sequim Junior Soccer has been part of many meetings, cooperative conversations, and surveys with sports leaders, medical personnel, as well as political leaders across the state and at home,” Henderson wrote to families.
“We have looked at all options to get our families and players back on the pitch, in a way that follows the current guidelines, and keeps everyone safe. Unfortunately, the unknowns have placed all youth sports programs in a very unfavorable position … we have decided now is the time to reset and take the next steps in planning for the next season.”
League officials similarly asked families to consider either making full or partial donations to the league or accepting credit for select or fall seasons, rather than full refunds from registration fees.
Henderson said he is hopeful to have some soccer this summer.
“(There are) still a lot of unknowns, but I am in constant communication with Washington Youth Soccer and other clubs,” Henderson said by email.
“We are making all preparations, and just trying to be flexible.”
For more about Sequim Junior Soccer, see www.sequimjuniorsoccer.com.