November 26, 2021

Club gives local players opportunity amid virus

Photo provided by Mark Barrett

BC Waza players Abby Hagen and Tenzin Aaya pursue the ball in an intra-squad game at Lifa Field in Groton.

While the NYSPHSAA has not outright canceled fall high school sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, the postponement of fall season until September 21 and the cancellation of fall championships has high schools across the state weighing the risks and benefits of playing certain sports, or any sports at all this fall.

But for some athletes, should their high school season be axed, there could still be an opportunity to play with club sports.

BC Waza, a youth soccer club based in the Ithaca area, wants to offer local players ages 4 to 19 that opportunity.

“We foster an environment that is competitive, but fun,” BC Waza director of coaching Maureen Whitehead said. “[We] will allow players to grow and take their game to whatever level they set their sights on.”

The club started as the Waza Club, but recently merged with BC United in the Binghamton area. The club has attracted players from Ithaca, Binghamton, Cortland, Homer, Watkins Glen, Elmira, Corning and Vestal.

While operating under the laws of U.S. Soccer and getting their “marching orders” from New York State West Soccer, it was phase four of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan that allowed for organized soccer to be played, giving BC Waza and other clubs the opening they needed.

“Our teams continually win tournaments, outdoor and indoor,” Whitehead said. “Right now, all of the formal leagues are paused, so we’ve created three options for our teams this fall:

  • Our oldest players will participate in the local adult league in Ithaca.
  • “We’ve created a “bubble” with three other clubs [Empire of Rochester, SDA of Syracuse and FC Dutchman of Albany], and will have four different game days for all of our teams;
  • “And we will have intraclub game days, which is what we did this summer, and proved to be competitive and fun.”

BC Waza has sent players to colleges such as Howard University and Hobart and William Smith. Whitehead said they have “just wrapped up a six-week summer program” and are now taking registrations for the new season, with their preseason starting Aug. 31. Interested players should visit bcunitedsoccer. com