Studies show youth need outlet to fight decline in mental health

Local soccer program Coastal United Soccer Association (CUSA) is keeping its seasons going by proceeding with tryouts for competitive leagues and registration for recreational leagues for the spring season.

The board of directors fought hard for the season, believing that it is imperative for youth to stay active and have an outlet during the COVID-19 pandemic, where children of all ages have lost contact with many of their friends and in return, became depressed or even suicidal.

Dr. Amy James, a New Bern psychologist, said, “We are seeing an increase in suicide attempts and completions in youth, and while this has been a trend for several years, it has increased even more during COVID.”

Emergency Department visits for depression and anxiety are also up this year as compared to years past, particularly for children and teens, she said.

James said engagement in youth activities, including youth sports, is a protective factor against emotional and behavioral struggles in youth as well as a protective factor against youth delinquency.

The approach of CUSA will continue to be cautious to ensure the health and safety of players as well as check-ins with their mental and physical health.

The board worked hand in hand with the county and will continue to follow state and CDC regulations, which now include wearing a mask when not actively on the field.

“With so many unknowns and changes to our kids’ schedules right now, organized sports has been one thing that has been relatively normal and has encouraged them to get out of the house, spend time with peers, and work toward a team goal,” James said.

A few ways that Coastal United is adhering to State and CDC guidelines:

  • Parents are asked to check for symptoms and temperatures before each game and practice.
  • If a player is not feeling well – stay home and be safe.
  • Parents asked to stay in the car during practices and limited attendance at games.
  • During games, parents are asked to social distance and wear a mask when they are unable to do so.
  • Save the celebrations. No handshakes or hive fives.
  • Programs at Coastal United consist of STARS (for 3 and 4 year olds), Classic, Junior Player Development and Recreational all the way up to age 18.

About Coastal United Soccer Association

Coastal United Soccer Association believes that the pursuit of excellence in the areas of athletics and soccer helps develop maturity and self-confidence. Coasted United believes that the experiences a player has with the organization will be beneficial throughout his or her lifetime. The focus is the development of the individual player. The goal is to maximize the development of the individual through programming that challenges each player, a coaching staff that adheres to high standards, and first-class facilities. Coastal United is resolute in dedicating its time and resources to the technical, tactical, physical, and psychological aspects of playing soccer.

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