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The Safe Sport Act

On February 14th, 2018 the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act was signed into law. This law is aimed at protecting amateur athletes* from sexual abuse. 

What exactly does the Law state?

The Law has a three-pronged approach:

  1. Any adult interacting with amateur athletes* in the program has a duty to report abuse and or suspected abuse within 24-hours. EVERY adult is a mandatory reporter.
  2. The statute of limitations is extended for up to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused. 
  3. Limits an athlete under the age of 18 from being alone with an adult who is not their parent. 

*Amateur athletes are defined as anyone under the age of 18 participating in sport where they are not paid. 

Legislation is available for download HERE.

What else is important to know about this Law? 

How might my club be impacted?

There are additional and more specific requirements for several categories of youth sports providers listed as ‘Applicable Entity’ within the Bill.  Those listed under this category include:

  • National Governing Body (NGB) – Such as the United States Soccer Federation
  • Amateur Sports Organization (sanctioned by NGB) – Such as MSYSA and Member Affiliates (town programs, clubs and leagues)
  • Amateur Sports Organizations (NOT sanctioned by NGB) – Such as YMCA, Church Leagues, Municipal Leagues, Independent Recreation Leagues, Camps, all others

US Center for SafeSport:

What are the requirements for NGB's and NGB-Affiliates?

Reporting – a mechanism that allows a complaint to be easily reported for a  reasonable suspicion of Sexual or Physical abuse/neglect, within a 24 hour period of awareness. Federal regulations state that reports should be made to a) local law enforcement and b) local/state child protective services, c) US Soccer, and d) the US Center for SafeSport. EVERYONE is a MANDATORY REPORTER.

Mechanism for Reporting

Everyone listed below MUST be contacted when physical or sexual abuse is suspected.

Other forms of misconduct such as emotional abuse, bullying, hazing, or harassment.

  1. Club Risk Manager Contact Information (every club should have a point person for reporting)
  2. Club or BoD Review/Hearing – There should be a process in policy to document and address this other misconduct.  The decision of the Club or BOD should be sent to the State Risk Manager.

Reasonable Procedures - Policies and procedures aimed at PREVENTING one-on-one interactions between an amateur athlete who is a minor and an adult.

An individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child sexual abuse is subject to criminal penalties including fines and up to one (1) year in jail.

What are the requirements for NGB’s and NGB-Affiliated?

  1.  Prevention Training – Under US Soccer's SafeSoccer Framework, all Amateur Sports Associations (i.e. MSYSA) sanctioned by an NGB (i.e. U.S. Soccer) must provide consistent training to adult members who are in contact with amateur athletes who are minors. Beginning in 2019, as required by U.S. Soccer, all adults involved in youth soccer must take an initial Abuse Prevention Training course and then within the next calendar year, an annual refresher course each year of participation.  The course is offered online at no cost through the U.S. Center for SafeSport. 

    For MSYSA, adults register with their Club in GotSport via their organizations dedicated registration link by first creating an account. Once they complete their Adult Registration, participants find a link to access the course in their profile Dashboard (Instructions here:  If the Adult has already taken the course, they can upload their certificate and the MSYSA Registration Specialist will mark them as Approved.  After they take the initial course they must take a refresher course every year thereafter.

    More information about the course can be found on the MSYSA website under MSYSA Safe Soccer.

  2. Prohibit Retaliation - Include in your club policy that there can be no retaliation from the club toward those who are reporting.