Chicago (May 16th, 2023) - U.S. Soccer today announced key educational elements of its new Safe Soccer Clearance Program, including a collaboration with Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) to co-develop an online, 30-minute Positive Soccer Environments module. This is an important milestone in the development of one of the key safeguarding initiatives stemming from the Sally Q. Yates independent investigation.
A core element of the Safe Soccer Clearance program will be standardized, minimum safeguarding education for coaches, referees, team administrators, parents, and other leaders across the soccer landscape, in the form of online modules. Educational elements include:
- SafeSport Core Training (90 min) - emotional, physical, and sexual abuse prevention
- U.S. Soccer’s Safe & Healthy Environments (30 min) - recognizing and responding to emergency situations, especially those that relate to physical health
- Positive Soccer Environments, in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance (30 min) - identifying a positive soccer environment, the benefits of creating a positive setting, and tangible tools to nurture a healthy team environment
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (30 min) - educating participants on the harmful effect of biases, stereotypes, and microaggressions
The Safe Soccer Clearance Program is a participant eligibility program that will create a continuous vetting process for those involved in the sport. Participants will sign-up centrally through U.S. Soccer, producing a public database of participating individuals that will allow the status of a participant’s Safe Soccer Clearance to be searched and tracked. By centralizing safeguarding, U.S. Soccer can leverage its scale and reach to enable several key benefits:
- Transparency - Single database to allow members to see the status of those participating
- Accountability - Allows members and U.S. Soccer to work together to keep bad actors out of the game
- Portability - Follows participants, preventing a bad actor from moving from one member to another
- Standardization - National minimum standard for clearance, reducing duplicative costs and effort to train participants
- Participation - Draws players to the sport as it can be identified as being safe
Mana Shim, Chair of U.S. Soccer’s Participant Safety Taskforce, stated: “PCA has been the preeminent leader in this space for over two decades and their research-based trainings and tools have been proven to work. As we continue to take steps to improve the culture of soccer in this country from the ground up, we’re excited to draw on PCA’s expertise in putting athlete well-being at the center of our sport. Safety remains our top priority and we look forward to rolling out our Safe Soccer Clearance Program and continuing to work with our membership and partners as we define new standards, policies, reporting systems and educational programs.”
PCA President Jason Sacks stated: “PCA is looking forward to partnering with U.S. Soccer to provide specific, tangible tips and tools to not only coaches, but parents, leaders, officials and athletes.”
The program will have a multi-year, tiered roll out with the initial pilot phase targeting the Fall of 2023 before being introduced to the broader soccer landscape in 2024. The Federation will continue to work closely with membership to design a rollout plan that is operationally feasible, contributing to long-term, sustainable safeguarding success. More information on the Safe Soccer Clearance program can be found on U.S. Soccer’s Participant Safety Hub.
In addition to the Safe Soccer Clearance Program, U.S. Soccer will continue to work on the implementation of other safeguarding measures and educational opportunities, staying true to the commitment to ensure that everyone in the sport has a safe place to learn, compete and grow.
About Positive Coaching Alliance
PCA’s mission is to change the culture of youth sports so that every child, regardless of social or economic circumstance, has access to a positive youth sports experience. PCA trains coaches and partners with youth sports organizations, parents, sports leaders, and communities to make youth sports more positive, equitable, and accessible to all kids regardless of social or economic circumstances. For more information, go to www.positivecoach.org