COVID-19 INTERIM GUIDANCE: California Prohibits Games and Tournaments in Youth Soccer
This information was originally released July 30 and the State of California has re-released it and or updated it daily. Please check with the California Department of Public Health for the latest information.
The State of California has announced guidelines for youth sports that are impacting the youth soccer market.
“Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when physical distancing of at least six feet and a stable cohort of participants, such as a class, can be maintained. Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.”
“Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not permitted at this time,” states the release from the California Department of Public Health.
“Sport conditioning programs are permitted for individual or team training ONLY where physical distancing of at least 6 feet can be maintained.”California Department of Public Health
The idea is to support a safe environment for players, coaches, and trainers, as well as families. From the highest level of competitive youth soccer clubs to local recreational programs and school-based sports programs, the new CA guidelines are a game-changer.
“COVID-19 continues to spread in California, and to help slow transmission we must focus on basic public health guidelines to protect our families, our communities, and our students from the virus,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health.
The California Guidance for youth sports establishes a consistent set of rules that apply to all youth sports programs — including school-based, club, and recreational programs. CLICK HERE for Youth Sports Questions and Answers.
Here is an excerpt from the statement:
As general guidance, smaller groups are safer than larger; outdoor locations are safer than indoor; sports that can ensure the distance of six feet or more are safer than close contact, and shorter duration is safer than longer.
Leagues, coaches, parents, and athletes need to consider all these factors as they plan to return to play.
- Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are not permitted at this time.
For example, tournaments, events, or competitions, regardless of whether teams are from the same school or from different schools, counties, or states are not permitted at this time.
- Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when the following can be maintained:
- (1) physical distancing of at least six feet; and
- (2) a stable cohort, such as a class, that limits the risks of transmission (see CDC Guidance on Schools and Cohorting). Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent practicable.
- For sports that cannot be conducted with sufficient distancing or cohorting, only physical conditioning and training is permitted and ONLY where physical distancing can be maintained. Conditioning and training should focus on individual skill-building (e.g., running drills and bodyweight resistance training) and should take place outside, where practicable.
Indoor physical conditioning and training is allowed only in counties where gyms and fitness centers are allowed to operate indoors.
Some of the guidance is sure to create issues with parents. For example, this clause: Consistent with guidance for gyms and fitness facilities, cloth face coverings must be worn during indoor physical conditioning and training or physical education classes (except when showering).
The guidelines are also clear on the maintenance of equipment: Avoid equipment sharing, and if unavoidable, clean and disinfect shared equipment between use by different people to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Cal South and Cal North, US Youth Soccer‘s state associations in California, are working with clubs to do whatever is possible to keep kids safe, and at least training to play the beautiful game.
“I know all the soccer community is frustrated and worried about what will happen moving forward with youth soccer in the coming months,” said Steve Hoffman, Cal South Technical Director. “The announcement from the CDPH makes it more challenging for all of the soccer community with not competition or games at this time.”
“The challenge for coaches is to follow local Health Department rules and regulations to keep the players safe,” said Hoffman. “Coaches should challenge themselves to make modifications to the practice sessions and make the COVID safe. There are many ways to modify what we currently do to incorporate social distancing guidelines in our training sessions.”
The response to these guidelines has been mixed but the underlying principle of keeping kids safe, limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and helping keep players on the field is clear. All youth soccer clubs and organizations must do everything they can to make sure that we are able to maintain the little progress gained since the stay at home mandates were repealed. So far, registrations for youth soccer in the Southern California market have been strong and not far off from previous seasons.
As of Jul 20, 2020, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) determined, in collaboration with 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will have a modified sports schedule due to the impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19. Most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.
The CIF calendar released last month by the CIF reflects the last date for Championships and Regional/State Championships. May 29 is the last date for Playoffs with June 5th the last date for Championships.