The Sylva Herald, By Carey Phillips

Part of Smoky Mountain’s men’s soccer workouts were shut down last week after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

Athletic Director Adam Phillips said one pod of 10 players was shut down for two weeks. N.C. High School Athletic Association guidelines call for players to participate in pods of no more than 10 in an effort to control a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are following all the protocols of the N.C. High School Athletic Association and the local health department,” Phillips said.

He said the unnamed player was asymptomatic. Others players in the pod will not be required to be tested as that will be up to their parents.

Phillips had words of praise for Stephen Brown, SM’s men’s soccer coach.

“I can’t say enough about Stephen Brown and his staff following protocols and procedures and staying on top of things,” Phillips said. “It’s very reassuring from an athletic department standpoint. I’m sure the parents appreciate that also.”

The voluntary workouts being allowed have numerous restrictions. Those include no contact and no sharing of balls or other equipment.

The NCHSAA has postponed the official start of practice for fall sports, including men’s soccer, from Aug. 1 until Sept. 1.