COVID-19 Information

MASSACHUSETTS YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION COVID-19 Soccer Protocols March 25, 2021


Commonwealth of Massachusetts Phase IV, Step 1 For full information go to: mayouthsoccer.org/covid-hub/

Massachusetts Youth Soccer is dedicated to protecting the health of all people in and outside of our community. In an effort to assist our players, coaches and parents with required changes to soccer activities due to COVID-19, Massachusetts Youth Soccer has put together the following protocols for our affiliate members to use. Given the nature of this pandemic, this framework may change at any time based on the most recent CDC and or Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines.

PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND FACIAL COVERINGS

Facial Coverings must be worn by all participants during active play except for individuals with a Documented medical condition or disability that makes them unable to wear a face covering.

For the purpose of this guidance a facial covering means a face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth. Only face coverings that secure with loops around a player’s ears are acceptable. Masks with exhalation valves or vents (including mesh masks) are not acceptable and should NOT be worn by anybody. Face coverings must be a separate accessory.

Participants can take mask breaks when they are out of proximity of other players (at least 6’) using caution to avoid touching the front or inside of the face covering by using the ear loops to remove and replace. Participants must wear facial covering while on the bench at all times and in any huddles.

Coaches, staff referees, umpires, and other officials are required to wear facial coverings and maintain a social distance of 6 feet from players, coaches, spectators and other persons at all times. Unless otherwise specified by the league or facility any CDC recommended facial covering may be worn.

REQUIRED SAFETY PROTOCOLS

If the spectator area allows for at least of 6’ feet of social distancing between family units Spectators are limited to 2 adults (Parents/Guardians or chaperones) and siblings of a participating player. Note: This updated Mass Youth Soccer policy of 2 (two) spectators per player and siblings is in force unless the facility has stricter limits.

  • Sportsmanship should continue in a touchless manner- no handshakes/slaps/fist bumps.

  • If benches and bleachers cannot be removed, they are allowed to open ONLY if six feet of distance can be maintained between each participant at all times and they can be thoroughly cleaned using CDC recommended cleaning protocols between uses. The following procedures should remain in place for all participants and spectators:

  • No signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and you have not been exposed to someone who has been ill in 14 days.

  • Check for normal temperature before going to training - (temperature 100.4 or higher please stay home).

  • Upon arrival to training, coaches or staff should ask each athlete if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If the athlete has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should be sent home and instructed to contact their healthcare provider. They will not be allowed to return to training until they are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.

  • Participants, organizers, spectators, volunteers, and facility employees in high risk categories should not participate or attend organized sport activities. List of high risk categories can be found here.

  • Be sure appropriate infection prevention supplies (e.g. hand sanitizer, facial tissues, facial coverings) are present in multiple targeted areas (outlined later in this document).

  • Small group training should take place in an area where physical distancing (6’ apart) can be maintained.

  • All spectators must adhere to CDC and DPH assemblage and distance guidelines. Spectators, nonessential visitors, staff, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations should be limited as much as possible. Operators are encouraged to mark off spectator viewing sites to allow for social distancing.

  • Spectators must practice social distancing including wearing face coverings.

  • Participants should use their own equipment and be instructed to sanitize their equipment after every training session.

  • Each participant will be required to have their own water bottle, towel, and personal hygiene products (hand sanitizer, facial tissues, face coverings). Players are required to wear face coverings during all soccer activities, Coaches and spectators will be required to wear face coverings and maintain a social distance of 6 feet at all times. Tissues, wipes, or disposable gloves must be properly disposed in the appropriate receptacles.

  • Cleaning schedule/protocol of equipment (cones, goals etc.) with disinfectant before, during, and after training.

  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (gloves, face coverings/masks) must be worn as required per DPH guidelines.

  • Wear a face covering, when not actively playing and when a player cannot abide by the physical/social distance requirements from coaches, other players, and parents.

  • Soccer will be permitted to be played by the players under the rules/laws of the sport with modifications as noted.

  • Do not allow congregating in the parking lot, common areas, entrances, and exits before and after practice. Tailgating and other social gatherings are strictly prohibited in common areas.

  • Schedule groups/teams with a minimum of 20 minutes in between the time one team concludes and the other arrives. Players must leave immediately after their session. Players should not arrive at their field earlier than 5 minutes prior to their scheduled arrival time.

  • Remove benches from all soccer fields. Players & spectators must bring their own chair. All chairs must be spaced according to physical distancing rules. (6’ apart) If you can not remove benches and bleachers, they are allowed to open ONLY if six feet of distance can be maintained between each participant at all times and they can be thoroughly cleaned using CDC recommended cleaning protocols between uses.

PARENTS

  • Ensure your child’s health. Take temperature daily. The average normal body temperature is generally accepted as 98.6°F (37°C). Some studies have shown that the “normal” body temperature can have a wide range, from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). A temperature over 100.4°F (38°C) most often means you have a fever caused by an infection or illness.

  • If your child has any symptoms, even mild ones, do not send them to practice or a game. Public health urges you to stay home and isolate until:

      • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of medicine) AND o Other symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) have improved AND

      • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

      • Anyone in your household or that you have had close contact with (within six feet for approximately 15 minutes over a 24 hour period) should self-quarantine based on current CDC guidelines, The Commonwealth of MA and direction from your local Board of Health

      • Notify the club immediately if your child has become sick.

      • Notify your soccer organization immediately if your child has been identified as a close contact by a school or public health authority.

  • Adhere to physical/social distance requirements posted by the organization. These are based on state and local requirements. When at training, wear a face covering if you are outside of your car.

  • Ensure that your child has a water bottle, equipment (ball and GK Gloves if necessary), light and dark shirt (no shared scrimmage vests will be provided).

  • Ensure your child’s personal equipment, cleats, balls, shin guards etc. are cleaned and sanitized before and after every training.

  • Ensure your child’s clothing is washed after every session.

  • Do not assist the coach with equipment before or after a training session.

  • No carpooling with other members of the team is recommended. In the event that transportation of a nonfamily member becomes necessary, all parties in the vehicle must wear cloth face coverings or face masks and to the extent possible have external air circulating in the vehicle such as opening a window.

  • Be sure your child has necessary sanitizer with them at every session.

  • Ensure athletes arrive dressed for practice and leave immediately after practice. No recreational play, or loitering is allowed.

  • A face covering will be required per the most recent EEA guidelines while actively playing and while on the sidelines. A face covering should be worn during arrival and departure from the field. Only a face covering that loops around a player’s ears will be considered acceptable. See PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND FACIAL COVERINGS section for full description.

  • Facial Coverings must be worn by all participants during active play.

PLAYERS

  • Take temperature daily (see information outlining this in the parent’s section).

  • Practice and encourage proper hygiene, washing hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds at a time. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or sleeves, do not use your hands. Do not touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with unwashed hands.

  • Have your own hand sanitizer with you.

  • Facial Coverings must be worn by all participants during active play. See PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND FACIAL COVERINGS section for full description.

  • Only a face covering which attaches around the ears will be allowed, so as not to cause any injury if accidentally tugged or pulled on. No around the head or neck face coverings will be permitted during contact play. No masks with air valves or mesh masks will be allowed.

  • Practice physical distancing on the sidelines. When sitting on the sidelines you should be 6’ from the next player and wear a mask as much as possible. Your belongings should remain in your space when not in use.

  • Bring your own equipment (Ball, GK Gloves (if required), shin guards, jacket etc.) Do not touch anyone else’s equipment.

  • Bring your own water bottle and snack. Do not touch anyone else’s belongings as sharing will not be permitted.

  • Wash and sanitize your equipment before and after each training.

  • No group celebrations, hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL

Any Massachusetts-based athlete or coach who chooses to leave Massachusetts must comply with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Travel Advisory upon returning to Massachusetts and before returning to sports activity, work, school or attending public events. You can find the March 22, 2021 Travel Advisory here.

View the full COVID-19 Soccer Protocols (https://www.mayouthsoccer.org/assets/61/6/soccer_activities_protocols_march_25_2021.pdf)