While there is a suspension in the sanctioning of events in our state and travel outside of our state to USYS events through August 1st, soccer is back and we are excited for every player and coach to return to the field in the safest way possible!
Below are some helpful questions and answers for our member clubs as they navigate providing a safe, competitive and enjoyable return to soccer.
Can we continue to train/practice in the months of June and July?
Are there certain measures that should be taken to help mitigate risk during practice?
Yes. A number of resources are available on the SDYSA COVID-19 page on our website. https://www.southdakotasoccer.com/documents/covid-19-resources/
Is there a timeline to follow in terms of when we can have contact, small sided games and full team training?
Yes, this information can also be found on the SDYSA COVID-19 page. Furthermore, US Soccer has a ‘Play On’ Handbook which is a very helpful resource regarding timelines to a return to play. This can be found on this webpage as well.
Can we play games?
Yes, games can be scheduled when the club leadership feels the time is appropriate. US Soccer would first suggest 7-12 weeks of training, progressing through social distanced training, small sided/group training to full team training. Again, the US Soccer ‘Play On’ resource outlines this timeline and structure.
Who do we play against and how?
There are a few ways in which clubs can play games.
1) Inter-Club Games
a. Your club hosts games against other teams within their club. This would be organized by the club itself. Referees can be used and would be secured and scheduled by the club.
a. A team plays a game(s) against another team from another club(s).
b. SDYSA expects the following method of hosting friendlies to be followed.
i. The friendly games occur on 1 day. This will allow for no hotel stay, limit travel, limit expenses, limit the amount of time at one location with a mass gathering of people.
ii. A team plays in a maximum of 2 games per friendly day. Preferably 1.
iii. We expect teams to travel the shortest distance possible to play their friendly games. Putting a number of miles to it is challenging due to the unique locations of our member clubs. Our hope would be that friendly games are set up between clubs that are near each other. Again, to limit travel, expenses, etc.
c. There is no registration fee to participate
d. Any expenses related to friendly games should be handled club to club.
e. Each community is different regarding the regulations or ordinances put in place by the local city park officials/government. Each club should be in contact with local officials to ensure they are in compliance prior to any friendly games occurring.
What’s the difference between friendly games and a tournament?
1) There is not a registration fee associated with a friendly game
2) Friendly games are handled club to club and do not need sanctioning through the state association.
3) Friendly games are generally organized on a small scale with another club to provide a meaningful, developmental and low-pressure game environment for children where scores are not kept.
4) Registration/Check In of rosters is not needed.
Are these mandates by SDYSA/USYS?
No, these are not mandates, SDYSA and USYS are unable to have oversight regarding what each club does during this time. We also understand the timeline for a return to play for some clubs is different. While some clubs are returning to training others are not and do not intend to this Summer. We do expect club leaders to be conscious of their decision making in returning to play and games. The safety of players, coaches, referees and parents must be the primary consideration.
Are our players still covered by SDYSA/USYS insurance during training?
Yes, this has not changed
Are our players still covered by SDYSA/USYS insurance during friendly games?
Yes, this has not changed. They must be registered members of SDYSA/USYS for the 2019/2020 soccer year to be covered by SDYSA/USYS insurance.
If any individual contracts COVID-19 at any training or friendly will they be covered by SDYSA/USYS insurance.
Can we have tryouts for next season?
Yes, when your club determines they can move safely into full team training, tryouts can occur.
What happens on August 1st?
Barring any setbacks, SDYSA fully intends to have August 1st be our return to normalcy. It is a natural time to reset for families for the new school year and soccer season. This will allow a fresh start to a very challenging Spring and Summer.
As we move forward through this challenging time, it is critical that we all think holistically about the players experience and their development. Player safety and maintaining healthy environments for children is the most important responsibility we have as coaches and parents. The long-term impacts to the youth soccer ‘player’ and their development related to COVID-19 should hopefully just be a bump in the road for ‘them’. Let’s continue to create player centered environments for our youth!