CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Youth sports in our country is a $25 billion dollar industry, and a big piece of that pie is generated here in the Tar Heel state.
If this were 2019, soccer fields across the Triangle would be jammed. One of the nation's largest soccer clubs, North Carolina FC Youth, has close to 13,000 players.
"We are in full swing in March and April, practicing one, two, three, four nights a week, games on the weekends," said Director of Risk Management Bryan Bachelder.
This year, the fields that don't have locks on them, like Brooks Park in Cary, are getting a little bit of traffic, but nothing like normal.
With the spring season wiped out, participants were offered refunds. Bachelder said the organization is preparing to offer additional financial aid in the fall.
"Each year we give around, we fund about $400,000 worth of financial aid that we're able to give to families and we know that number is going to increase as we go forward," Bachelder said.
Like many businesses, NC FC Youth is taking advantage of the downtime in the best way possible--by offering virtual training videos and helping coaches enhance their skills.
"Our coaches are able to obtain additional coaching educational opportunities that they might not have had elsewhere," Bachelder said. "We've been working with Dan Abrahams, he's a sports psychologist. He's been doing webinars with our guys."
Bachelder acknowledged that when soccer returns, it will look much different. He said the club will do what it takes to make sure all 13,000 kids are safe.
"For sure soccer is a contact sport," Bachelder said. "That's a bit of a challenge for us, but we are excited about it, and we've got a lot of smart people putting those policies and procedures in place."
If they can't get back on the pitch in the fall, Bachelder said they be financially prepared and are budgeting for the worst case scenario.
Youth soccer league offers virtual training videos for participants, educational opportunities for coaches