ODESSA, Fla. - You can hear the excitement in former Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica's voice. After three months without being able to coach his two soccer teams at Florida Premier FC, he couldn't get to the field fast enough when Pasco County re-opened the fields.
"I couldn't wait, yeah I couldn't wait," smiled Gramatica. "I love doing this. I enjoy it, but the kids that are all here love soccer. So they couldn't wait either. One thing that I don't want them to forget is that we still have the virus. We still have to take care of ourselves."
There are plenty of new steps that have to be taken before these boys are allowed on the field.
"The first thing is that we take everybody's temperature," said Gramatica. "The social distancing, when it comes to them putting thier cleats on and getting ready. No handshakes. Obviously, we're wearing the masks. The coaches wear the masks."
Parents watch closely from outside the fields and the boys know there's no kidding when it comes to the new safety standards, but they admit after running around for a bit they sometimes need reminding that this is a new day in the world of youth sports.
"Yeah, like you forget," said 15-year old player Daniel Lester. "I'm so close to some of these boys that you forget that you can't be right next to them."
"It's really exciting to be back out here with everyone to play," said Martin's 14-year old son, Nico. "To see some old friends that we haven't seen in a while."
The practices are underway, but the games will have to wait until August. With Pasco County being the first to allow youth sports to return, Florida Premier FC should have an edge on its competition.
"Well, I hope a lot," laughed Gramatica. "We'll take any advantage we can. Just being out and being able to play with your team. The sooner you can do that they better."
Other Bay Area counties are working toward bringing back youth sports sometime this summer.