International athletes may be alone for a COVID-19 Christmas

Internationals face a decision on whether or not they should travel home during pandemics

TRU men’s soccer hosts over 6 athletes who will all be affected with travel implications due to COVID-19. (TRU Athletics)

TRU is one of the highest populated schools with International athletes across Canada. Players from all over the world flock to Kamloops due to its cheaper tuitions, stellar sports programs, and world-class facilities. 

Most international athletes are only able to attend due to athletic scholarships awarded to them by Wolfpack. This year with COVID-19, athletes were told that they would still be eligible for scholarships despite all sports seasons being cancelled; however, they needed to remain on campus and attend all training sessions in order to receive their funds. 

The notion of having scholarship athletes attend practices is fair, however, it has lead to some issues regarding travel implications over the holidays. 

“It has affected me in a negative way as it is making it almost impossible to travel back to see my family in Spain,” Jan Pirettas, men’s soccer captain stated. “I always planned to head home for Christmas and assumed it would have cleared up by now. Unfortunately, the  situation back home is worse than here and that’s why my family suggested I should stay here until all this passes.” 

Although the travel ban in Canada was lifted over the summertime, athletes are still facing challenges depending on where they are coming from. They will be forced to quarantine for two weeks upon return. 

“The pandemic has definitely made my arrival and leaving Kamloops more difficult. I am planning on going home to Montana and will have to quarantine once I return which I’m not looking forward to,” Chloe Nadeau, member of the women’s soccer team said. “Fortunately, I won’t have to quarantine in the states despite it being worse back home. My family isn’t too concerned about me travelling.” 

After speaking with a number of Wolfpack athletes who were forced to quarantine upon arrival earlier this summer, it seems that quarantine is no easy breeze. 

Athletes were forced into complete isolation in the dorms residence building at TRU. They were not allowed to leave their rooms under any circumstances – unless it was to open their doors to retrieve food. Depending on where they were coming from, this was frustrating to some as you could imagine. 

Opinion varies from athlete to athlete on how this will affect their holidays. Many will be forced to miss Christmas with their families while others will take the risk of leaving to go home, not knowing if they will be allowed back into Canada.

All in all, during these uncertain times, it is important to remain mindful and grateful that we get to spend time with our family this Christmas without the stressful decision of what these athletes are facing. 

If you know one, make sure you wish them a merry Christmas and make sure they are not alone on Dec. 25.