The below credential policy updates are based off of U.S. Soccer’s Return to Play Manual, FIFA’s Return to Football COVID-19 protocols as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The policy below is as of October 2020 and is subject to change. U.S. Soccer reserves the right to change the credential policy without notice.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people gather. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. You assume all risks, hazards, and dangers arising from or relating in any way to the risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other communicable disease or illness, or a bacteria, virus or other pathogen capable of causing a communicable disease or illness, whether occurring before, during, or after the event, however caused or contracted, and voluntarily waive all claims and potential claims against U.S. Soccer Federation and their affiliated companies relating to such risks.
Credentials and working space for media members are issued at the sole and exclusive discretion of U.S. Soccer’s Communications Department.
Media Health & Safety Guidelines
- All media personnel are subject to Tier 3 screening requirements prior to entering the venue. This includes temperature checks and completing a health screening questionnaire.
- Media personnel should source their own face mask, but U.S. Soccer will have face masks available upon request.
- Media personnel must practice physical distancing from one another and others at all times while inside the venue.
- Media personnel are required to wash and/or disinfect their hands frequently.
- At no point should media personnel (written press, photographers, ENG crews, etc.) enter the field of play, locker rooms, or come into contact with Tier 1 authorized personnel. This includes players, coaches, match officials, and select team/event staff.
Media Credentialing Process
- The number of media credentials available for venue access will be determined by the number of people that can safely occupy media facilities while adhering to social distancing guidelines in the space. The following will be considered for each event:
- A separate accreditation process for virtual access only (i.e. participate in MD-1 and postgame press conference).
- For visiting team international press, restrictions and guidelines on international travel will be taken into account. Federation will work closely with visiting team PR staff to accommodate traveling press, if possible.
Media Availability (MD-1 & MD)
- All media access, including access for media credentialed for the match, will be conducted via video conference. In-person press conferences and mixed zones will not take place.
- In the event that a limited number of media are permitted to cover MD-1 training:
- All filming, including of teams arriving, should respect mandated physical distancing.
- Filming and photography of the official training activities may take place from the tribunes
- Press conference will be streamed and played in the press box for credentialed media.
- A live stream of the press conference will be available for media covering remotely.
In the event that media are not permitted to cover the match in person:
- A credential process will still take place and approved media will receive a link to cover the post-match press activities via video conference.
- Distribution of game notes, rosters, lineups and stats will only be done electronically.
- Postgame press conference and mixed zone will be via video conference call and there will be a process for media to ask questions.
Press Box & Photographer Work Room
- Space in the Press Box and Photographer Work Room will be arranged to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
- If physical distancing is not possible in existing media infrastructure, outside space will be identified to accommodate media with a working space, power and wireless internet.
- Distribution of game notes, rosters, lineups and stats will be done electronically to avoidhand-to-hand contact.
Photographer & ENG (TV NRH) Positions
- Designated photographer and ENG crew positions will vary per venue.
- These two groups will be permitted to access field level in venues where a minimum of 20 ft. distance can be accommodated behind field boards.
- In venues where this can’t be accommodated, field media will be assigned positions in the lower bowl. If field access is permitted, a field tunnel will be designated to media that does not intersect with Tier 1 personnel.
- A live hit position for TV Non-Rights Holders will be identified 48 hours prior to the match.
- TV Non-Rights Holders will not be permitted to access field level, player tunnels, or any back of house areas for hits.
- Robotic cameras behind goals will not be permitted until further notice.
- Photographers and TV/NRH/ENG crews are required to wear bibs at all times while in the venue.
- Bibs will be distributed upon entering the venue and collected from the designated photographer location at the conclusion of the match.
- Bibs should be placed by media directly into a launder bag (staff should avoid collected the bib by hand).
- Bibs should be freshly laundered prior to the event and must be collected and laundered immediately following the event.
Media are expected to follow the guidelines set forth in this document, as well as the instructions of U.S. Soccer staff, stadium employees and security, at the risk of limitation of access or revocation of credentials.
Media credentials are issued with the purpose of providing access to interviews and written, audio and visual accounts of the game as appropriate. Media members should not use access for autographs, personal photographs or commercial requests.
Media credentialed for access to shoot photographs and video are expected to use professional equipment to file photographic or video accounts. Use of equipment such as ‘point and shoot’ style cameras or mobile telephones that are not considered professional equipment will result in access being restricted or rescinded.
Press Releases: To be added to the U.S. Soccer media distribution list, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Guides: To request a current media guide for the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team, please send an email request to email@example.com. A digital version of the Men’s and Women’s National Team’s media guides can be found on the Media Guide page.
Interview Requests: Media requesting interviews with U.S. National Team players, coaches or administrators should make arrangements with the U.S. Soccer Communications Department or the onsite press officer with the respective team. When requesting and conducting interviews, media should identify the organization that they are representing, and provide advance notice if audio or video will be recorded for later distribution. All audio and video interviews are subject to U.S. Soccer’s Video Guidelines, which are included in this document.
ussoccer.com: Is the official web site of the U.S. Soccer Federation.All press releases – content that includes a dateline are posted on ussoccer.com, and can be republished by media in their entirety. U.S. Soccer press releases are available in Spanish. Media interested in receiving press releases in Spanish can send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audio, Video Roll & Interviews: U.S. Soccer periodically sends out video and audio media rolls from National Team events for outlets to use free of charge, provided they properly credit video as; Courtesy of U.S. Soccer/T3 Media. If you’d like to sign up for the email list that distributes these media rolls, please email email@example.com with Media Roll in the subject line.
Twitter: U.S. Soccer provides updates at www.twitter.com/ussoccer that include breaking news and new content posted to ussoccer.com. Media are welcome to re-tweet @ussoccer, @ussoccer_wnt, @ussoccer_esp and @ussoccer_ynt content, including play-by-play accounts.
Head Shots: U.S. Soccer maintains head and shoulder portraits of select U.S. National Team players and coaches that can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-808-1300.
Action Photography: For action photos, please contact Annette Shelby at International Sports Images at 650-906-7753 or at email@example.com. International Sports Images serves as the photography manager for U.S. Soccer. Media outlets can also search and preview the photography archive at isiphotos.com.
U.S. SOCCER EVENTS
Policies: In addition to the policies listed below, please note that only working media will be credentialed and no one under the age of 18 will be issued a credential without prior arrangements being made.
Applications: Media can request credentials for matches online at http://www.ussoccer.com/about/media-services/credentials. The online application process can be found by clicking on the Media Services link in the footer on the front page of ussoccer.com. Media can also contact U.S. Soccer Communications with questions on the application process directly by phone at 312-808-1300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Deadlines: The deadline to apply for credentials to U.S. Soccer events is generally one (1) week prior to the game. There is no guarantee that late applications will be accepted.
Pickup: U.S. Soccer will distribute credential pickup times prior to each game. Credential pickup times generally coincide with media availabilities. For pickup on the day of the game, Media Will Call at the stadium will open approximately two (2) hours before kickoff for WNT matches and three (3) hours for MNT matches. Each media member must show identification in order to receive their credential. An individual cannot pick up more than one credential.
Credential Shipping: If you would like single-game credentials and parking passes (subject to availability) to be shipped, please provide a UPS or FedEx account number at least two (2) weeks prior to the game. Replacement parking passes cannot be provided if lost in transit.
All Matches Credential Holders: All media provided an All Matches credential must still inform the U.S. Soccer Communications Department of their plans to attend specific matches to ensure a space in the press box. Please do so at least two (2) weeks in advance of a match.
Media facilities, including the press box and photographers’ work area, will open approximately two (2) - three (3) hours before each game.
Press Box: All seats will be assigned. Auxiliary seating arrangements will be made if the capacity of the press box is exceeded.
Photographer Work Room: Where available, a photographer work room will be available at field level.
Internet: Wireless Internet access will be provided to media filing on deadline.
Game Notes & Media Guides: Game notes will be placed at each seat and also on a table near the press box entrance. Media guides will be made available upon request and digital versions are available online at ussoccer.com (link here).
Lineups: Official lineups are made available approximately one (1) hour prior to kickoff. Lineups, which include jersey numbers for each team, will be distributed to the media as quickly as possible.
Media Access / Interviews
There is no pre-game access to U.S. Soccer players and coaches on game days. No “flash” interviews are permitted on the field. All post-game access is available in the press conference and mixed zone.
Press Conference: There will be a formal press conference with the head coach shortly after the final whistle. In the event something changes a member of the U.S. Soccer communications staff will inform the media.
Mixed Zone: Locker rooms are not open to the media at U.S. Soccer events. All post-game interviews will be conducted in a press conference or mixed zone. Players from both teams will typically be available in the mixed zone. The media mixed zone will generally be near the locker rooms.
Print & Online Media
Live Blogging / Commentary: Live blogging of U.S. Soccer events from either the venue or via the television broadcast is subject to our Live Blogging Guidelines. The guidelines are included in Appendix II of this document.
Video: Please notify U.S. Soccer in advance if your coverage includes video recording. Any video footage, including interviews, gathered by print and online media is subject to the U.S. Soccer Video Guidelines. The Video Guidelines are included in Appendix I of this document.
Audio: Please notify U.S. Soccer in advance if your coverage includes audio recording. Any audio, including interviews, gathered by radio, print and online media is subject to the U.S. Soccer Audio Use Guidelines. The guidelines are included in Appendix III of this document.
Radio - Non Rights Holders
Non-rights-holding radio journalists are welcome to conduct pre‑game and post‑game reports from the press box, but NO play-by-play reports are permitted. Radio non-rights-holders will have access to post-match press conference and mixed zones unless otherwise notified. Radio outlets interested in purchasing rights should contact U.S. Soccer at 312-808-1300.
Audio: Any audio, including interviews, gathered by radio, print and online media is subject to the U.S. Soccer Audio Use Guidelines. The guidelines are included in Appendix III of this document.
Print, online and radio writers and reporters are not permitted on the field at any time. Media members granted field access must have a working purpose. Representatives from the broadcast media who are not filing reports, but would like to attend as an observer, should inform U.S. Soccer of such when making the application.
Locations: Still photographers are permitted to shoot U.S. Soccer events from behind the field sign boards in either end line. At events where space allows, photographers may also shoot on the sideline opposite the benches between the end line and the 18-yard line. Shooting from the 18-yard line will be allowed on a match-by-match basis depending on space. The attacking direction of the teams is determined by a coin toss. Following the coin toss, photographers must pick one end of the field to shoot for the entire half. The ONLY time photographers may change ends is at halftime. At NO time are photographers allowed on the field of play.
Photo Marshals: U.S. Soccer will use photo marshals to assist on-field media. Photo marshals can assist with providing lineups/rosters, distributing bibs and assist with questions on location and other topics. Photographers are required to follow all instructions of the photo marshals.
Bibs: All still photographers are required to wear a colored bib as provided by U.S. Soccer. The bib is lightweight and designed to be worn outside of outerwear and be visible at all times. Please return the bibs to a photo marshal following the game, or leave them in the press box / photographers’ work room.
Pre-Game Photos: Each team’s starters will pose for a pre-game photo near the bench area following the national anthems. Photographers should gather in the near-side corners once the teams leave the field after warm-ups. U.S. Soccer will escort the photographers to midfield.
Field Watering: The grounds crew may water the field prior to warm-ups and also prior to kickoff. Please be responsible for your equipment during this time. U.S. Soccer is not responsible for damage to any equipment.
Non-Rights Holder Video (ENG)
Video Footage: All non-rights holders and ENG crews must follow the U.S. Soccer Video Guidelines for all footage gathered at events. The Video Guidelines are included in Appendix I of this document.
TV Reporters: ENG reporters may stay on the field until one (1) hour prior to kickoff to shoot ‘scene sets,’ and are not allowed on the field again until after the conclusion of the game. Reporters/anchors will not be issued a bib.
Location: ENG cameras are permitted to shoot U.S. Soccer events from behind the field sign boards of either end line. The attacking direction of the teams is determined by a coin toss. Following the coin toss, ENG cameras must pick one end of the field to shoot for the entire half. The ONLY time ENG crews may change ends is at halftime. At NO time are any media members allowed on the field of play.
Photo Marshals: U.S. Soccer will use photo marshals to assist on-field media. Photo marshals can assist with providing lineups/rosters, distributing bibs and assist with questions on location and other topics. ENG crews are required to follow all instructions of the photo marshals.
Bibs: All ENG camera operators and ENG producers are required to wear a colored bib as provided by U.S. Soccer. The bib is lightweight and designed to be worn outside of outerwear and be visible at all times. Please return the bibs to a photo marshal following the game, or leave them in the press box / photographers’ work room.
Field Watering: The grounds crew may water the field prior to warm-ups and also prior to kickoff. Please be responsible for your equipment during this time. U.S. Soccer is not responsible for damage to any equipment.
Live Newscasts: Please contact U.S. Soccer in advance of the event if you would like to broadcast live pre or post-game as part of a newscast from the stadium.
U.S. Soccer will not generally credential media looking to cover a U.S. Soccer event only for social media purposes. This means someone looking to provide coverage of a match for social media sites not limited or restricted to; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., will be considered for a press credential on a case basis but in most cases will not be accommodated for a press credential.
Social Media Reporting: U.S. Soccer permits credentialed reporters to report on behalf of their media organizations through social media channels or personal accounts. U.S. Soccer permits pictures to be taken from the press box for social media reporting purposes but prohibits the collection of any type of video from the press box. Doing so may result in revocation of press credentials.
Appendix I: Non-Rights Holder Video Guidelines
Video Footage: All rights to match footage including all applicable copyrights belong to U.S. Soccer and its rights holders who broadcast each specific match. U.S. Soccer has three rights holders that will broadcast their Men’s National Team matches in 2017: ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision. If an organization is interested in recording video footage at a U.S. Soccer match for non-news gathering purposes they should contact U.S. Soccer Communications at email@example.com. An undetermined number of Women’s National Team matches will be televised by a rights holder and the same terms apply for the ownership of match footage for these matches.
Game Action: Television broadcasters can use footage of U.S. Soccer events obtained either via 1) their own recording or 2) action dubbed from a U.S. Soccer rights holder broadcast with credit only in connection with its regularly scheduled news programming within a week of the game. This footage should not exceed two (2) minutes. Highlights aired as part of a continuous news program should not be longer than one (1) minute per 30-minute segment.
Filming – Game Action: For televised events, non-rights holders / ENG cameras may record the first 15 minutes of each half (from 00:00 to 15:00 and 45:00 to 60:00 on the game clock). For non-televised events, non-rights holders / ENG cameras may record the entire game but are still subject to the aforementioned limits. This includes events that are web streamed live online.
Filming – Interviews and Scene Sets: There is no limit to the gathering of footage pre-game, at halftime and post-game. All footage gathered is subject to the usage guidelines indicated in this document.
Filming – In Seating Area: Video cameras looking to shoot in the concourse or seating area must contact U.S. Soccer in advance of the event for approval.
Previews or Advances: In advance of a U.S. Soccer event, television broadcasters can use two (2) minutes of archival game action to preview an upcoming event. In the local/regional markets, broadcasters should mention the time and location of the game along with their report. Outside of the local markets, broadcasters should mention the time and broadcast information.
Television Broadcasters’ Web Sites: Video produced for air as part of regular programming that is simulcast or archived online must be accompanied by a link to ussoccer.com. Content produced exclusively for the Internet is subject to the guidelines for Online Video.
U.S. Soccer Video Dept. Audio and Video Roll: U.S. Soccer periodically sends out video and audio media rolls from National Team events for outlets to use free of charge, provided they properly credit video as; Courtesy of U.S. Soccer/T3 Media. If you’d like to sign up for the email list that distributes these media rolls, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Media Roll in the subject line.
Game Action: Online organizations (including print publications that post video online) are not permitted to film or use game action video at any time. Game action includes any footage of the field, teams, etc., following the beginning of the television broadcast window. Only video of off-field activities (i.e. interviews, training sessions) may be recorded.
Non-Game Video: Any video posted online that is recorded as part of media access is limited to the use of eight (8) minutes per day/activity date. Online video may not incorporate integrated advertising and must be accompanied by links to ussoccer.com.
Professional Presentation: Online video is expected to be recorded, edited and presented in a professional manner. Video must be presented/hosted on an organization’s website, and not solely on a site provided by a third-party (i.e. YouTube, Vimio, Facebook, etc.).
Online Video Sites: Organizations who regularly post video to online video sites (i.e. YouTube, Vimio, etc.) may not include advertising with video gathered as a result of media access. Allowing users to embed these videos is not permitted, and the description of any video must include a link to ussoccer.com.
Appendix III: Non-Rights Holder Audio Guidelines
Play-by-Play Accounts: Play-by-play accounts are forbidden by non-rights holders at any time.
Non-Game Audio: Any online audio recorded as part of media access is limited to the use of eight (8) minutes per day/activity date. Audio posted on radio broadcaster websites must comply with Online Guidelines below.
Non-Game Audio: Any audio recorded as part of media access is limited to the use of eight (8) minutes per day/activity date. Online audio may not incorporate integrated advertising and must be accompanied by links to ussoccer.com.
Appendix III: Live Written Updates
Online or text reports (i.e., live blogs, Twitter, etc.) concerning U.S. Soccer games while they are in progress (“Live Written Updates”) are subject to the following:
— Live updates may not use any audio, video or graphic simulations of U.S. Soccer games.
— Live updates must provide television and radio broadcast information for that U.S. Soccer Game. For example: "Tonight's U.S. Soccer game is being broadcast live on (name of television/radio station)."
— All live updates must be free of charge