As a club, we have had to make several key changes in the way we run things. We knew from the very start that if we were to be successful then we had to make sure that we were extremely organized and understood all the measures in place to keep everyone safe. Before even coming to Uni we were spending many hours on calls planning how we would go about doing everything. Thankfully, the FA have released a 24-page document on Covid guidelines that we could follow and take inspiration from, so we knew it was possible to begin playing.
The club appointed a Covid officer and produced large-scale risk assessments for every venue and every event we would take part in. We adapted the club to ensure it remains Covid safe and explained to all our captains on how to keep their teams safe before, during and after games. We also have had to refurbish all our medical bags and supply them all with updated PPE.
Another problem encountered has been in communication with our members. We have recently seen the rejuvenation of our Instagram account and I must credit our Media Sec Dom as he is doing a fantastic job. Every year we encourage members to join a Facebook group with which many get lost and join wrong groups etc. whereas this year we have transitioned onto Instagram as it is easier for us and for our members.
From the moment we were told that BUCS was not going to start until January we began thinking of ideas with which we can ensure our members game time. From this, we decided to implement a new Saturday team which plays in a local league, which we previously were involved with a few years back. This team has had a mediocre start to life in that division but on the admin side of things, we appointed a new committee member that has been smashing his role as well as our current 1s and 2s captains (Al and Mitch) taking joint command over this team which has worked very well.
Considering we were not able to properly train until after a few games had been played the club has been doing fine and should be improving now that regular training sessions have begun. I would like to add that none of what we have been able to achieve so far would be possible without the incredible committee behind it all, who only want to ensure everything runs as well as it possibly can. These boys deserve a pat on the back and I'm sure they will continue to keep it up for the rest of the year.
We have had to host a couple of important events for the club such as trials and draft day. The trials were a huge success and took tireless planning to ensure it ran as smoothly as possible. We collected relevant information from triallists to organise them into appropriate teams and allocated them a time slot. We had explained every helper's role beforehand and ensured that we had key sanitize points before entering the venue. Upon walking on the pitch, the helpers stuck to their station and ran a set of drills with the triallists being separated into small groups of under 6 to take part in these drills and at the end had a little game situation. When the triallists finished we ushered them out through a different entrance to avoid contact with the new groups and ensure a one-way system was in place. I think this has been the best-run trials we have had since I have been at Uni and it had to be considering the circumstances.
We held the draft day on a Zoom call recently, which is an event where the captains name their squads for the start of the season and which we had limited to 22 players. In a few weeks, we are looking to run a smaller-scale trial for those who missed the last one as well as flirting with the idea of running a give-it-a-go session for anyone interested. With regards to the charity side of things, we as a club have a few events lined up in order to support the amazing charity that is Teenage Cancer Trust. The main event we have planned is called 'Shave or Dye', in which members can choose to shave their head or dye their hair bleach blonde to raise money for our charity. Another event we are planning is a Collab with Plymouth Marrow with whom we have worked with in the past to create a cookbook.
On our Instagram, we have also started to post a team of the week with any standout players from all of our games making it onto there, as well as this we post all of our team sheets and matchday reports on there.
Check out the Captain Interviews from the Varsity that never was
"As a club, the current COVID situation has driven us to prove that we can be one of the best clubs at Plymouth University, with our current goal of smashing Gold icons. Every exec member has stepped up their game and the running of the club has drastically improved. With all current restrictions UPFC has thrived under the pressure and hopefully will continue to shine for the rest of the year."
Nathan Dear - Health and Safety Secretary and appointed club Covid officer
"The club has impressed me with all the preparation they have put in place to ensure the safety of the current members and freshers joining. Sean and Nathan have gone above and beyond in order to make people feel comfortable and get back to playing the sport that they enjoy and love so much."
Alex James - Long standing club member
"The club has faced a lot of difficulties but has worked through them well. Everything has been run well to give everyone involved the best experience. We've been able to have trials, continue training and play matches. The committee has put in work to make it as easy as possible for all of us captains to run a successful team."
Cameron Orr - 5th team Captain
"I'm amazed at the amount of effort and time that has gone into ensuring the restart of the club, given the current situation. The attitude and the response of all committee and club members has been fantastic. At the start of the summer not knowing whether we would have football in September seemed a daunting thought but being able to take part in a local Saturday league has been a great outlet for the club and the players and a positive opportunity going forward."
Toby Clayton - Saturday League Secretary
Anyone that wants to get involved and play football can join the club via the UPSU website and paying for the Men's Football Membership. We are working hard to guarantee all our members' regular football no matter the ability and we want everyone to feel welcomed within our family. What I would say to anyone that is interested but unsure on joining yet is to follow us on our Instagram page @UP_FC_ as we post all our upcoming events and regular updates on there. I would also like to mention is that we have a few events in the pipeline such as more trials for anyone that missed the last one and friendly games but these are still being planned for the near future.