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UCLA starts holding some limited practices for its fall sports teams

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the UCLA football team will be able to resume limited practices Sept. 7.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Not long after the UCLA women’s soccer team tweeted a photo of its first on-campus practice since March, a football counterpart shared his envy.

“Can I come practice with you all?” quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson tweeted Thursday, adding a sad-face emoji.

He’ll be joining them soon enough.

Most of UCLA’s fall sports teams have commenced limited outdoor coach-led practices as part of a move into the school’s next phase of its return-to-play plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The practices that have been approved for the men’s and women’s soccer and cross-country teams involve non-contact drills in groups of no more than 12 and include physical distancing protocols.

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The football team is scheduled to start these practices Sept. 7, after a two-week break following the recent postponement of all fall sports until at least Jan. 1. The football team will be restricted to 12 hours of practice per week, five of which can be skills development, through Oct. 4.

A progression into these enhanced activities is based on the advice of the UCLA medical team and is in compliance with state and county guidelines, a school spokesperson said. In UCLA’s most recent disclosure of its COVID-19 caseload, released Wednesday, the school reported only two positive tests — students who live in off-campus, non-university housing and have not been on campus since March 15.

The women’s volleyball and basketball teams have not been allowed to practice because of restrictions on indoor activities.

UCLA still has a few hurdles to clear in its attempt to stage games for the first time since all college sports were shut down in March, including the start of full team practices. But many athletes feel that any practices are better than none.

Players from several fall sports have acknowledged being antsy to get back to practice as part of a return to some sense of normalcy.

“We know as soon as August comes, that’s go time,” Marley Canales, a senior midfielder on the women’s soccer team, said last week, “and now that that wasn’t really the case this year, it was hard.”


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