Queens Youth Sports Makes a Comeback

A group of people playing soccer at Hoyt Park in Astoria. Photo by Jose Cardoso

Let’s play ball!

Youth sports are set to make a comeback in NYC Parks this fall and lawmakers in Queens are excited. 

City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill and Queensboro Hill), Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, said that he was happy to see the return of youth sports and was thankful that the de Blasio administration listened to parents, advocates and sports clubs who pushed to be able to play as the COVID-19 infection rate decreases. 

“The return of youth sports is welcome news for thousands of youth athletes and parents throughout the city who have been waiting on the sidelines for too long,” Koo said. 

Sports clubs are ready to return and health is a top priority for them, he said. 

Organized youth sport leagues will be able to restart in the city, possibly as soon as September 15, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show on Friday. The decision came after months of elected officials and youth leagues asking how and when to return to the field.

“I think it’s going to be September 15th, but we are working on the exact day,” de Blasio said. “What it means is Parks Department will provide permits for baseball, softball, soccer, flag football, non-contact lacrosse, and cricket, which is very popular in lot of our neighborhoods.” 

The players and their fans will have to follow social distancing guidelines, including wearing masks at all times on the sidelines and when possible on the field. 

“This will give young people the exercise they need in a responsible manner,” said City Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside). 

Youth need an outlet for their energy more than even now given the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said City Councilmember Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside). 

“Our youth are especially in need of structured sports and activities as they will continue to spend a lot of time cooped up at home during the coming school year,” said Holden. 

Opening up youth sports is a good first step in the return to normalcy, said Koo. Next, the administration needs to issue guidance for adult sports. 

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