Return to Play Protocols

These guidelines will provide direction for the re-opening of Outdoor Soccer. The focus for now is on acclimating and reintegrating players, coaches and referees.

The guidance from the City of Tempe and State of Arizona in mitigation strategies for COVID-19. It is a cautious and gradual re-opening. As the Governor and Department of Health provide additional information and guidance beyond the initial opening, we too will expand the opportunities for soccer. 

These guidelines were created in consultation with those developed by the US Olympic Committee, US Soccer, US Youth Soccer, the CDC and the State of Arizona and is a collection of best practices for carefully moving forward in the COVID-19 world. We encourage you to follow all aspects set forward in this document, but to also implement additional strategies based on the input of these other agencies. 

The conditions during this pandemic have continually evolved and changed weekly, sometimes daily. We know additional information and new guidelines are forthcoming. They will change at any time, so we must be flexible. These guidelines will be updated as necessary. 

This document does not replace the advice or direction of medical professionals. The risks of infection still exists. Until a vaccine or cure is developed for COVID-19, we must proceed cautiously and continue to monitor and comply with the Governor’s office, AZ Department of Health, CDC and any other federal or local regulations.

Please recognize that many families and individuals will have reservations about re-opening and reintegrating. We must be respectful, sensitive and flexible as we restart. If a parent, child or coach is not comfortable returning to play, they shouldn’t.  

General Health

  1. If you are sick or have symptoms of an illness:
    1. Stay home. Stay home regardless of what is causing yourillness.
    2. If you are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, practice self-quarantine measures as guided by the CDC and contact your physician.
    3. To discontinue quarantine and return to sport, obtain appropriate clearance to return to soccer and sport from your physician.
    4. If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID 19:
      1. Begin self-quarantine for 14 days and follow the most up to date CDC guidelines.
      2. Advise your instructor, club or coach immediately if any possible exposures have occurred in your team, training or club environment. Parents (and not the minor player) should communicate with the club, coach or SRC, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.

Physical Interaction

  1. Maintain “social distancing” of at least six feet.
  2. Avoid activities involving high levels of group interaction (ex: team huddles).
  3. Avoid general physical interaction including hugging, “high fives” or passing objects by hand.
  4. Participants and any additional persons on site (employee, volunteer, parent) should avoid close contacts and follow all social-distancing guidelines.
  5. Distance yourself from anyone exhibiting signs of sickness.

General Hygiene

  1. Avoid touching your eyes/mouth/nose as much as possible.
  2. Wash or sanitize your hands often and after close contacts.
    1. Use soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
    2. When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    1. Follow with washing or sanitizing your hands.
    2. Dispose of tissues in a sealed trash can.
  4. Avoid spitting and coughing.
    1. Goalkeepers should not spit into their gloves.

Equipment & Training Gear

  1. Where possible, use individual equipment.
    1. Do not share personal equipment or gear (e.g. water bottles, towels, flags, etc.).
    2. Soccer balls may be shared.
  2. Sanitize sports or exercise equipment before and after each training session.
  3. Wash all training gear after each training session.

Mitigation Strategies

  1. All participants (coaches, players, referees, spectators, etc…) are recommended to wear new or clean PPE upon arrival, departure and when not physically active for any training or match.
    1. For the duration of the match, coaches and substitute players should wear masks on the sidelines.
    2. Referees are reminded to wear PPE for arrival and pre-game field inspection.
  2. PPE should cover the nose and mouth, be breathable, consist of cotton or wick-type material and follow CDC guidelines.
  3. PPE should be new or clean for each training session or match and disposed or thoroughly cleaned after each training session or match.
  4. Provided all screening, hygiene and social distancing measures are followed, masks are not mandatory for players/coaches/referees/participants during exertional moments of training or competition (i.e. when physically active at training or during game play).
    1. PPE may obscure vision, increase respiratory challenges, or increase other injury risk while being physically active.
  5. For players, referees or staff who choose to wear PPE while physically exerting themselves, the following should be considered:
    1. Discuss with your primary care physician if any medical conditions pre-dispose you to avoid the use of a face cover while participating in physical activity.
    2. PPE should be breathable and not prevent or disrupt ventilation.
    3. PPE should not obscure the individual’s vision.
    4. PPE should not pose a risk to another participant.
    5. PPE should be in good maintenance, at the responsibility of the individual.
  6. Spectators should wear PPE.
  7. Heat and humidity may lead to increased discomfort or respiratory challenges wearing masks. Coaches, referees and spectators are recommended to take “PPE breaks” throughout game.
    1. To take a PPE break, simply ensure you are more than 10 feet away from another participant and remove your mask.
      1. Should another participant move within 10 feet, return your mask to covering your nose and mouth.
    2. Consider having a replacement mask available if your PPE becomes wet due to sweat or environmental conditions.
      1. Sanitize your hands following the removal of a used mask and replacement of clean mask.
    3. Recommendations may change based on evolving medical and health information, as well as local, state or federal guidelines.

Field Restrictions

  1. 50 participants per field maximum including all players, referees, coaches and spectators
    1. Spectators must always remain physically distant (6ft)
  2. Face coverings must be worn by all players (not actively playing), referees, coaches and spectators
  3. No socializing on the field or in the parking lot after the activity ends
  4. No vendors
  5. Teams will be on separate sides of the field during each game.