The article below is a post from owner Adam Lewin
It was February 11th, right before midnight, and I was sitting in my kitchen staring at a blank computer screen after a three hour Zoom call.
On that call, soccer leaders from leagues around the country were discussing different scenarios that could play out for the 2021 season. It was a blender full of thoughts from some of the best minds in the industry.
Each representative had their own idea how the upcoming season was going to unfold. Depending on which area of the country the person was speaking from, you’d think soccer would soon be playing in full stadiums or was on the verge of global collapse.
It was a roller coaster phone call to say the least.
Towards the end of the conversation one thing became abundantly clear: No one had any idea what the future held.
While an optimistic tone rang through the talks, the hopes of each caller ran straight into a brick wall of reality concerning our current state of affairs. COVID cases were still sky high, there were vaccine supply and distribution issues, and without a let up in our color coded grid there was no way we’d reach the levels needed to get on the field, let alone in a safe environment in front of fans.
After saying goodbyes, I turned off my camera, leaned back in my chair, watched the screen go dark and thought to myself, “How on earth is this going to happen?”
Every morning after that call felt like groundhogs day.
The soccer world would wake up, exchange texts, check to see if any movement had been made on restrictions, and then go about their day shuffling their feet.
As time passed by, there was a growing chorus that for two years in a row we would not be playing soccer.
That chorus became louder as the end of March rounded out.
At 6:00am my phone was buzzing so much that it fell off my nightstand and onto the floor where the corner of the screen promptly cracked.
At first I thought Messi had left Barcelona.
Then I shook my head, cleared out the cobwebs and told myself, “Impossible”.
So what was going on?
Word leaked the governor of California was planning to reopen the state on June 15th…and people were going crazy.
At first there was a feeling of joy and euphoria. Not only would the returning champs be back on the field, the Lionesses were finally hitting the pitch. It would be a milestone achievement for our community and the team could be a part of helping our area feel that some sense of normalcy had returned.
That feeling of euphoria was short lived and soon replaced by a new feeling. That one you get when you forget your ID at home after rushing to get to Sacramento International Airport for a flight. That feeling of…“uh-oh”.
Then it hit like a bag of bricks…Holy sh*t, we’re having a season…in a few weeks.
It normally takes five to six months to build out a proper season.
Between securing venue dates, applying for permits, confirming insurance, building a roster of players, and checking off a laundry list of other items, it takes months of administrative work to get the operations and logistics in order.
We had to complete all of these tasks in five to six weeks...for two teams.
Even after word circulated the leagues were back, we still did not fully have an answer for how this was going to work.
While a date was set for California's reopening (June 15th), that did not mean there was a magical switch that when turned on business and government offices would begin operating as normal.
That’s just not how it works.
Most agencies were still trying to figure out how to safely get their doors back open with enough staff to operate properly. We needed those agencies to process paperwork in order to step one foot on the field.
Then we had insurance questions to work through which were complicated by pre and post restriction dates on our calendar. Coupled with guidance that was grey in some areas and it led to a carousel of phone calls. Most places just didn’t have concrete answers to the questions we were asking.
Tag in testing needs and practice restrictions and it was enough to make your eyes squint at the start date and say….huh?
So how’d we do it?
First, the City of Davis was amazing helping us get the teams back out on the field. Sonia Chavez and Kristina McClellin were lifesavers processing our requests and supplying us with the needed information to host matches pre and post the lifting of restrictions. A massive thank you to both for helping us get over the finish line this summer.
Second, Healthy Davis Together was an invaluable resource for not only our community but for our greater area. Having the best testing operation in the country gave us the confidence we could responsibly get back to competition in a safe environment. That goes for our players and fans.
Third, for those that know Ted Parks at Woodstock’s, he is one of the hardest working members of our town. There is literally no substitute for this man. He and his crew got ready on short notice, with shifting schedules, securing permits, and brought the pizza, beer, and wine to our matches. Kudos to Ted and crew for providing the buzz (not the lights!) and food to our fans all summer long.
Fourth, everyone involved under the FC Davis operation. From coaches, to interns, to our women’s team executive board, to Chris Lossin at Yolo Athlete, and our partner’s Davis AYSO and AYSO United (Go United!!!) it was a total team effort to pull off what seemed like the impossible. Game days are a string of little items that need to be completed in order to make a game run smoothly and our crew made it happen. Bill and Robin Byrne brought team and referee water while cutting down drastically on our plastic usage (0%!). Cem and Tondi Bolkan set up our cameras and organized our Founding Member group. Our awesome interns/workers that were led by Mesara Jayalath and Deepak Sah took care of logistics. And the voice of FC Davis home matches Rohan Baxi put a smile on match goers faces. Everyone did their part to get this season off the ground and make it memorable.
Finally, the fans. The local soccer community showed up in force this summer supporting our men’s and women’s teams. FC Davis does not exist without you and we thank you for the continued and growing support as we came back from extremely difficult circumstances.
With a dash of hard work, a sprinkle of creativity, and a whole lot of emails, we were on the field ready to kick some butt in 2021.
The Launch of the Lioness