Ben Orozco is staying positive.
The coordinator and founder of the Central Section Soccer All-Star Game is still hopeful that he’ll be able to get an all-star game off this summer despite COVID-19 delaying the return of sports all around the state.
Orozco announced Monday on Facebook that he is awaiting word on permission for field use from four different school districts. In its 11-year history, the All-Star Game has always been played at Lindsay High School but because of the virus, Orozco is keeping his options open.
For the games to have a real chance of being played, the state would need to at least be in stage three of its COVID-19 reopening plan but it's been in stage two since May 8.
“Unfortunately it’s a sitting game,” Orozco said. “Especially with the CIF coming with their announcement on July 20. That has to do a lot with what we’re doing because at the end of the day, we’re under the school jurisdiction, whether they can help us out with the renting of fields or not.”
Currently the games are scheduled to begin on July 31 with the East vs. West and North vs. South girls' games, and the boys' East vs. West and North vs. South games on Aug. 1.
The All-Star Game has its coaches already picked out but it hasn’t announced any rosters. Players are selected from all Central Section high schools regardless of grade. The top 25 players to make a roster will be announced on July 20 according to the game’s Facebook page.
“We will still honor the Best of the Best on our Twitter page and Facebook page,” the Facebook post reads.
Orozco said he knows getting a game off will be difficult but he’s still working on doing everything in his power to make it happen. A decision will come in late July on the official status of the game.
“I think the absolute deadline is going to be this month,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense for us to go into the middle of August cause school’s going to start by then and kids are going on to college, they’re leaving out of town.”
Still, he remains hopeful.
“There’s still a little bit of hope,” he said. “We hope for all this to improve and get better with everybody else at the end of the day.”