Football clubs were able to meet again earlier this month after spending most of the year apart.
And players and coaches are already reaping the benefits of returning to a sport they love.
Morpeth Town Juniors coaches kept children engaged with Zoom meetings and virtual challenges during lockdown.
But nothing could compare to the mental and physical health benefits of being out on the pitch with friends.
Martin Prosser, U11 Dragons coach, said: "Everyone has been super excited to get back onto the pitch.
"On the first day back there was lots of silliness, lots of antics and lots of screaming - and that was just from the coaches."
He added: "It's great for everyone to get a bit of routine back into their lives too. The kids get to be outdoors, see their friends and have some exercise too, so it has been great for them."
Martin has two sons, aged 11 and 13, and was able to identify how difficult and isolated young people might feel during lockdown after noticing the toll it was taking on his own children.
It motivated him to think of new ways to help his team feel connected, while they were unable to meet face-to-face.
His team were asked to take on challenges, such as running 2km and sharing a photo of their post workout red face to help lift spirits in the group.
The coach, who has worked at the club for five years, said: "I think during the first lockdown it was all new to us.
"People were keeping occupied with the Joe Wicks workouts and the lockdown was something new to explore.
"But this time I think it's been a lot harder for people. You can sense the frustration and people are just eager to get back to a bit of normality and get on with their lives.
"We had messages from parents saying they were trying their best to keep the kids active and we were helping by sending out ideas and setting little challenges.
"But nothing compares to being back out on the pitch with other players.
"Kids just miss being with their friends and they wanted to be back out playing football and having some fun in the fresh air so it was a bigger relief to come back to training this time round."
Martin added: "Throughout the lockdown we were trying to keep each other positive and kept in contact with each other.
"But we were all waiting with bated breath for Boris to make an announcement about what was happening and when we could get back to training.
"On that first day back the atmosphere was great. There were a lot of jokes and excitement and a lot of laughs at everyone's lockdown hair.
"And although it was difficult to get any tactics or training done because of all the excitement, that little bit of freedom and the chance to see people was great for the kids."