SOCCER at all levels remains shutdown nationwide, as Ireland continues to socially distance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the sectors seeing changes from the norm is education. IT Carlow runs the only FAI affiliated degree courses in Ireland with both a BA in sports coaching and business management (soccer) and a BA in sports management and coaching available to study in the IT.
IT Carlow soccer programme leader Luke Hardy says the last six weeks have been tough for students.
“It’s been a big adjustment for everyone, but everybody has adapted well so far,” he said in an interview with FAI TV this weekend. “It’s an important time of year for students, particularly the final year students.”
With courses taking place outside of the traditional classroom, Hardy said lecturers and tutors have had to get creative in how classes are taught.
“We had a couple of weeks planning to come back after Easter, before restrictions continued. My colleague Tom Elmes sent the students player development sessions that they could do in their own time.
“We were also planning for the final coaching practices for the second and third year students. They are completing their FAI C and UEFA B Licences. The guys would have presented their sessions to us by video.”
Of course, IT Carlow also runs popular GAA and rugby-related courses, and Hardy has been in regular contact with his colleagues in the department.
“We all find ourselves in the same boat. There is a lot of exchanging of ideas, and work going on in the background to make sure students are tested to the proper levels.”
Hardy and Elmes also conduct on-field assessments each Easter for potential first years for the following academic year. That plan had to change last month.
“We were still able to proceed with the interviews, we managed to do them online. We completed over 80 of them. The hope is we will be able to do a practical assessment, and we will have more applicants after the May 1st deadline.”
It’s almost two months now since educational buildings were closed, and Hardy said the focus is still on the wellbeing of the students.
“It’s been very challenging. The priority is to support the students. It’s a stressful situation. Different students will be in different situations. Some may have technological issues. The message we are now giving the students is that if they have issues, we’re here to help them.”