Parents FREQUENTLY Asked Questions
What rules and regulations are U.S. Soccer mandating in the return to play process?
Rules and regulations for returning to play will be governed by the requirements of the state and local authorities relative to group size allowances. U.S. Soccer is offering guidelines and best practices for its Members to support them at this time. U.S. Soccer has organized return to play considerations into five phases from Phase 0 (no organized activities; stay home) through to Phase IV (no playing restrictions related to COVID-19). Clubs have been recommended to adhere to COVID-19 recommendations including: safety protocols to limit exposure, contact tracing, checking for symptoms of COVID-19, sanitizing equipment and facilities, and social distancing in regards to physical interactions for players, coaches, and referees to ensure the safest possible environment.
Will players need to be tested for COVID-19 to return to play?
U.S. Soccer has outlined recommendations for medical clearance to return to play for individuals with pre-existing conditions, individuals who have experienced known COVID-19 exposure within the past 14 days, for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and for individuals experiencing any illness at this time. Please refer to the Play On Grassroots Soccer Recommendation Guide [CC1] for details. At this time, participants with no known exposure to COVID-19 will not be required to provide written confirmation of COVID-19 negative status from a physician or test. Testing may become an additional variable in decreasing risk for COVID-19; however, accessibility and costs for the wider public need to be considered and are deferred to federal, state and local regulations. Other guidance for return to play will be determined based on requirements from state and local authorities’ guidelines relative to group size allowances and health officials’ clearance for opening recreational activity facilities.
When can my child safely return to play?
Rules and regulations for returning to train and play will determined based on requirements from state and local authorities’ guidelines relative to group size allowances and health officials’ clearance for opening recreational activity facilities. Please refer to the Play On Grassroots Soccer Recommendation Guide for details on medical clearance and daily training clearance. Throughout the return-to-play process, please remember it’s important that each participant and their families stay informed and make educated choices about when they are ready to return to play. No one should feel pressured – or pressure others – into a decision. Players may also not be physically prepared to return to full intensity training. To minimize risk of injury and illness when returning to play, coaches are encouraged to gradually reintroducing players to play in a safe and progressive manner.
Can I attend games and practices and be around the athletes and other parents?
During Phase I and Phase II, parents and guardians are not encouraged to attend training and should stay away from the training field. Consider staying in your car or departing the area. If necessary, the hosting organization may consider arranging a designated area for parents. However, this area should be carefully arranged to ensure all social distancing protocol is followed. (Note that anytime there is one coach alone with players, there should be one adult - designated parent or club staff – observing from a distance, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.) Parents and guardians should not congregate together and should follow social distancing guidelines. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have experienced known exposure to COVID-19 in the past 14 days, stay at home and consult your physician.
For Phase III, parents and guardians should not congregate together and follow all social distancing guidelines. Similarly to the first two phases, the hosting organization could set up family zones that are six feet apart along the sideline. If there are bleachers, consider bringing a sanitizing wipe to sanitize your area. At no time, should parents ever enter the team bench area. U.S. Soccer recommends that all parents and guardians attending games or trainings should wear proper PPE (i.e. face coverings).
What precautions can my child take when attending team activities?
Is it still safe to carpool with other families to attend team activities?
Similar to Phase I and II, players should travel with as few people as possible to training (ex: one parent and one child) during Phase III. Carpooling or ride sharing is still highly discouraged. For families who must ride together with no other alternatives, only rideshare with a family or individual who has practiced appropriate distancing and sheltering requirements established by their local government or public health officials. Rideshare with the same individuals each training. Wear your face cover in the vehicle and maintain social distancing during loading, transport and unloading the vehicle.
What should I do if I see a coach not following proper guidelines?
How should the equipment (i.e. balls) be cleaned?
Follow CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting equipment and materials. Equipment (balls, cones, any other items touched by players, coaches, referees) should be cleaned before and after each training session. This should be done while wearing a face covering and latex gloves, using a virucidal cleaner (i.e. 70% alcohol solution or household bleach solution) and a disposable towel that can be disposed of immediately afterward. Clubs are encouraged to provide balls and should ensure they are cleaned before and after and after training. If your club is providing a ball for your child to use, we recommend you leave your own ball at home. If your child is bringing his/her own ball, you should disinfect it before and after training.
Will practices be altered to comply with safe social distancing principles?
During Phase I, social distancing principles will impact trainings. Social Distancing measures are recommended to maintain safety in accordance with state and local guidelines, until deemed no longer necessary. During Phase I, training will be permitted in small groups no larger than nine (9) players and one (1) coach. Players should stay six feet or more away from each other, and not engage in any activities – including team huddles, high five or play – that would cause players to directly touch one another.
In Phase II, full team trainings are permitted, but separate teams/age groups should not mix and full scrimmages should be avoided. Training should remain socially distanced, with the exception of small-sided games and set-play activities – which will help players build to full readiness for Phase III.
The only change during Phase III is full-team trainings can be returned to full length and intensity. Please note that even though games are allowed to resume, but separate teams/age groups should not mix, and full scrimmages should be avoided.
Will there be any specific items to consider for pre-game warm-ups?
Should there be any considerations due to increased temperatures during the Summer months?
Yes. Please refer to U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover resources here. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and exertional heat stroke (EHS), can be serious and potentially life-threatening conditions which can be brought on or intensified by physical activity. Be educated on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and early management. Make sure your child is properly hydrated before training and brings plenty of water to training. Players should bring at least two labeled water bottles to training.