The Crossroads League announced to their student athletes on July 26 their intentions to play a regular season in the fall. Two days later, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), moved their fall championships to the spring.As a result, Goshen College provided their student athletes with the option to opt out of the upcoming 2020 fall sports season.
Shortly after this announcement, two Goshen College women’s soccer players made the decision to sit out this season. Savannah Roth-Walter and Olivia Krall were set to join the team for the first time in their college career, but later decided to opt out after growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
As colleges and professional sports leagues announced their attempt to hold a season, the commissioners allowed their players the option to opt out. Most players who decide to opt out are at a high risk of contracting the virus or they have high risk members in their families.
In the two cases of Roth-Walter and Krall, they shared similar reasons for making the decision to opt out.
“I decided not to play for a bunch of different reasons, one of the biggest reasons was because of COVID-19,” Roth-Walter said. “I felt it was best for my mental health not to play.”
As for Krall, she cited her asthma which makes her a person of high risk.
“I went to my doctor for my sports physical and she advised me not to play this year,” Krall said. “I have asthma, which puts me at a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.”
Later on, each player touched on what the Goshen College Athletic department could have done to make them feel more comfortable suiting up.
“I honestly don’t think so,” Roth-Walter said. “Maybe if the season was in the spring.”
Krall made similar points.
“It’s a lot of chaos with COVID-19,” she said. “The athletic department did a really good job of letting us know what they knew. When I made my decision to opt out, they were really great about it.”
Both athletes touched on how difficult the decision was.
Roth-Walter brought up the point that, “It was a difficult decision not to play soccer. That being said, I think that it is the best decision not to play this season.”
“It was a really difficult decision, I thought about it a lot,” Krall said. “I talked to my family and friends, but figured it was better to be safe.”
Roth-Walter and Krall will still be presented the opportunity to play next season. With their love for soccer, once the pandemic subsides, these two athletes will be back on the pitch soon.
As for the Goshen College athletic department, their plans to move forward with the fall sports season are in full swing. Goshen College opens the 2020 season on Sept. 5. The Men’s and Women’s tennis teams are in action, as is the Goshen College Women’s Volleyball team.