MSYSA RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES
for a phased approach to resuming
organized youth soccer in the State of Maryland
May 15, 2020
All youth and amateur sports organizations want to get back on the field. A phased approach will provide clear direction and understanding for coaches, players, families, and communities to engage in youth and amateur sports. Before beginning to play games, organizations/clubs need to introduce training/practices in a manner that provides a safe environment, not only relative to COVID-19 but also to the prolonged layoff that athletes have had.
This document is designed to be a starting point and framework for our affiliate members to use as guidelines as each one continues to discuss their own return to play. This document is by no means a blanket permission to return to the fields. Each member is expected to strictly follow state and local guidelines for the resumption of play as individual counties and jurisdictions may have additional restrictions in place that effect your decisions.
PLEASE NOTE: MSYSA INSURANCE IS ONLY IN EFFECT IF YOUR ACTIVITIES ARE CONSISTENT WITH LOCAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS AND GUIDELINES.
**Please also note that any organized activities by our member leagues, clubs or teams require that players and staff are currently registered with MSYSA for the 2019-20 season in order to qualify for insurance coverage.
Maryland State Youth Soccer Association is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of all people. The purpose of this document is to provide athletes, parents, coaches, and soccer organizations with information they can use to assist them with developing their return to training programs in the context of COVID-19. As a guideline meant to be used by athletes and organizations with vastly different resources, this document cannot be prescriptive; rather, it should spark thoughtful deliberation among athletes, coaches and staff, who will use this information to create their own unique return to training plan that is specific to their situation. Many of the recommendations rely upon rules and regulations set forth by public health authorities, which will/may be different across the Country, State and County. In addition, there will be other logistical challenges of returning to training following COVID-19.
The information contained in this document is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, are provided for general informational purposes only. The knowledge and circumstances around COVID-19 are changing constantly and, as such, Maryland State Youth Soccer Association makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the completeness of this information. Further, you should seek advice from medical professionals and/or public health officials if you have specific questions about your return to training and competition.
Most, if not all, counties will have a phased approach to reopening businesses and the easing of social or physical distancing requirements. This may vary from county to county. Youth sports may not be a high priority for state or local officials, which may pose significant challenges for Youth Soccer. Soccer clubs and organizations across the state need to be aware and adhere to all Federal, State and Local guidelines and requirements.
Finally, although the young and healthy may be subject to less severe cases of COVID-19, every case of this disease is potentially life-altering or deadly, particularly in those with risk factors that may occur within our communities. Until COVID-19 is either eradicated, a vaccine is developed, or a cure is found, there is no way of eliminating the risk of infection. This should always be in the forefront when designing and considering your return to training program. State Associations and soccer organizations should be in contact with their respective insurance carriers to determine that all coverages are appropriate for the organization and its needs. The risks of participation must be clearly communicated with parents and participants in our respective programs.
This document refers to the ‘MD Stages’ as outlined by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’(MSRR). Full information on the State guidelines and stages may be found via links at the end of this document.
Implementing the Return-to-Play Guidelines presented here will require a cooperative relationship between the Club, Coach, Parent, and Player. While the Club and Coach must create a safe environment, the Parent must make the decision for their child to return to play.
Whereas there are many that will be excited to return to play, there are others who may be apprehensive. If a player, parent, or family is not comfortable returning to play – THEY SHOULDN’T. We must demonstrate respect and courtesy for everyone’s feelings during this time and ensure that we provide a safe environment as we return to play.