Mission Viejo coach launches letter campaign: ‘Let Us Play’

Logo of a bear and a red star with "CA Play 2020" under it.
Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson is organizing a letter campaign to lobby state officials to allow high school athletes to begin their season.
(Chad Johnson)

Mission Viejo High football coach Chad Johnson helped launch a letter-writing campaign on Monday hoping to convince state officials of the importance of allowing less restrictive practices by next month to enable the high school sports season to begin as scheduled in January.

Titled “Let Us Play,” the letter states, “COVID-19 has already taken so much from us. Do not allow it to unnecessarily take any more. Do not allow the cure to be worse than the disease. Please, for the benefit of the more than 800,000 participants in CIF sports, remove the impediments to the practices we need to prepare for the upcoming season and LET US PLAY.”

Johnson wants the state to remove strict safety guidelines that have prevented fall sports teams, such as football, from preparing for the season ahead.

“This means eliminating pods, distance limitations and restrictions on physical contact so that full and customary practices may begin no later than Nov. 9. The January start of the season will come and go without games if our coaches and districts do not believe we have had enough practice so to compete safely, and that would be a tragedy because now, more than ever, high school students need high school athletics.”


Districts across Southern California have been slowly allowing teams to return to conditioning while following local and state health guidelines. High school coaches have been frustrated seeing club and travel teams practicing and competing with their athletes out of state while being banned from engaging in similar activities on their own school sites.