PLAYERS FREQUENTLY Asked Questions
When are players allowed to begin training again?
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 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.
I haven’t trained in weeks. Are there best practices to ramp up to full gameplay?
Due to stay-at-home guidelines throughout the country, many players have been unable to train and have been less active while at home. Players may not be physically prepared to return to full intensity training and as a result, are at greater risk for injury or illness should they be placed in a full-intensity training environment. Do not do “too much, too soon.” Trainings are recommended to be no longer than 60 minutes during Phase I. Coaches should carefully assess their players’ fitness levels to best plan for and manage the volume, intensity and frequency of early return-to-play trainings. Avoid greater risk of injury and illness by gradually reintroducing yourself to play in a safe and progressive manner. Coaches should plan to progress to full intensity training over 2-4 weeks.
In Phase II, trainings can be increased to 90 minutes. However, trainings should gradually build in time and intensity during the three to six-week period. Coaches should still monitor their athletes and slow down progression of time and intensity, if needed. Consider integrating recovery strategies at home to minimize the effect of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Methods may include active recovery in a pool or on a bike, use of a foam roll, stretching and more.
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. Be sure to communicate with your coach if you feel your body needs more time to ramp up to longer, higher-intensity training. With the addition of the referees, you should avoid approaching the referee during disputes.
Do I need to wear PPE while playing?
All participants (coaches, players, referees, instructors, administrators) are recommended to wear new or clean PPE upon arrival, departure and when not physically active during activities. While being physically active, PPE may obscure vision, increase respiratory challenges, or increase other injury risk. Provided all screening, hygiene and social distancing measures are followed, masks are not mandatory during exertional moments of training (i.e. when physically active). Guidelines may change based on evolving medical and health information, as well as local state or federal guidelines.
Is contact allowed while playing?
Player should maintain social distancing at all times during Phase I. Social distancing measures are recommended to maintain safety in accordance with state and local guidelines, until deemed no longer necessary. Participants should not touch each other before, during or after training. This includes hugs, high-fives, huddles or as part of training activities.
During Phase II, small-sided games and set-play activities may be slowly and carefully incorporated to increase intensity and sharpen game-play skills. Excepting these select training activities, social distancing should be observed, and participants should be vigilant about following the general hygiene code of conduct outlined below to promote the safety of all those involved in the activity. If a player does not feel comfortable participating in a small-sided game or set play, do not pressure the player to join. As much as possible until the small-sided game or set play begins, players should remain socially distanced. During any break in play, the players should again revert to socially distance themselves.
While competition is permitted during Phase III, players should still avoid intentionally touch each other before, after and during play, except as insectary for the competition or training exercise.
Can my parents watch my practices or games?
For Phase III, parents and guardians can watch games, however they should not congregate together and follow all social distancing guidelines. U.S. Soccer recommends that all parents and guardians attending games or trainings should wear face coverings. If there are bleachers, they should consider bringing a sanitizing wipe to sanitize your area. At no time, should parents ever enter the team bench area.
How will set plays work?
Am I allowed to celebrate with my teammates after scoring a goal?
Will there be postgame handshakes following the game?
Should there be any considerations due to increased temperatures during the Summer months?
What should I be doing to minimize my risk of contracting COVID-19?
Respect the safety precautions and guideline put in place by your club, such as social distancing and hygiene protocols. Take responsibility for simple things you can do to stay safe, such as wearing a face covering to and from training, avoiding sharing water bottles, not touching teammates or equipment, washing your hands before training, showering directly after, and arriving to training fully dressed ready to play. Review the Play On Grassroots Recommendations Guide for more details. It’s important to understand how training in Phase I will be different than what you are used to. Working together by following these new processes will help keep everyone safe.
Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 to return to play?
Can I still share water bottles with other players on the team?
No. Participants are recommended to bring their own water bottles / hydration to training. To limit the need to refill bottles onsite, it is recommended that you bring at least two drinks bottles. All water bottles should be clearly labeled with your name, and you should not share or touch anyone else’s bottles. Single-use bottles should be discarded immediately on site, and water breaks should adhere to social distancing guidelines. Fluid breaks are recommended at least once every 15 minutes, but will largely be dictated by the duration/intensity of the session. As we head into summer, all organizations, clubs, teams, coaches and players are reminded to follow the heat policy outlined by Recognize to Recover here.