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High school football supporters are going on the offensive to resume the sport

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Trevor Wilhelm Those opposed to postponing the high school football season will gather outside the Greater Essex County District School Board's administrative office on Thursday, August 26, 2021.Those opposed to postponing the high school football season will gather outside the Greater Essex County District School Board’s administrative office on Thursday, August 26, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor star

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Soccer players, parents and fans have launched an offensive to get local school authorities to resume the sport.

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Trustee Alan Halberstadt showed up in support Thursday when a group of players and parents sent a letter to the Greater Essex County District School Committee calling for a meeting to discuss the situation.

“I think it’s a shame that they miss a season when that actually happens,” said Halberstadt. “I would like this to come before the Board of Trustees and for the administration to explain all the reasons why this cannot happen this year.”

Time is running out

Local school authorities have decided that all sports in Essex County’s secondary schools will resume with the return to face-to-face learning with the exception of soccer in September.

Gino Facca, whose son plays soccer with the Herman Academy, wrote and delivered a letter to all four school authorities requesting a meeting to discuss the decision “not to allow the fall soccer program”.

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Dean Facca, 16, an 11th grade student at Herman Secondary School, will be delivering on Thursday, April 26th. Dean Facca, 16, an 11th grade student at Herman Secondary School, will be delivering on Thursday, April 26th. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor star

He said two petitions calling for the return of football had also garnered around 3,400 signatures.

“I urge that a meeting be held as soon as possible,” said Facca. “Time is of the essence. They have to plan a certain number of training days before the season before they can do tackles and the like. “

Todd Awender, principal of the Greater Essex County District School Board, did not respond to a request for comment after the letters were delivered Thursday.

Earlier this week, he said the boards had jointly decided to postpone football indefinitely. You could come back to the subject in the spring, he said.

Halberstadt said the public board’s trustees had played no role in the decision and were unaware of the football cancellation decree until it went public. The fact that soccer was the only sport that was scratched “sure doesn’t look good,” he said.

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Halberstadt said the issue should be discussed in a special meeting of the trustee.

“I know the football community thinks they are being teased for reasons other than COVID because school authorities don’t really want football,” he said. “It’s an expensive undertaking. The administrator says it doesn’t, so let’s broadcast this stuff. “

Awender said this week there are concerns about players’ close contact even though other sports like basketball are allowed.

He also said there is not enough time to recertify helmets for safety and train coaches trained in concussion protocols and safe striking.

Facca said he had solutions to these hurdles. Supporters have been in contact with helmet manufacturers, he said.

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“We have a method to get the helmets certified in good time,” said Facca. “The questions about the coaching certification can be asked online. It’s a course of 30 to 50 minutes. The time constraints, if we postponed the season by a week, we could do it. If not, we could probably still do it if we can have a meeting and get it done asap. “

  1. Dean Facca, 16, an 11th grade student at Herman Secondary School, is pictured outside their home with his father Gino Facca on Monday, August 23, 2021.  The father and son are upset that the high school football season may be postponed.

    Football has been sidelined while other sports are returning to local high schools

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  3. Raised by LaSalle, # 82 of the Seatle Seahawks, Luke Willson storms during an NFL game in Seattle in November 2017.

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Some players who were dying to play again after losing last season also gathered outside the school board in hopes of changing some opinions.

“I invested hours every day in the expectation that I would return to the sport,” said Sonny Chantler, 17, the hopeful scholarship holder who is in 12th grade with Herman. “Not just me, I know there are hundreds of children all working toward the same goal as me. It would just be heartbreaking if they took it away again. “

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