COVID-19 US Youth Soccer Advisory
For those with questions about the current Coronavirus situation in Arkansas and how it affects Arkansas Soccer, please view the statements below from ASA and US Youth Soccer. If you have any further questions, contact Jim Walker at email@example.com
August 10, 2020
Directive for Community & School Sponsored Team Sports
June 30, 2020
Governor Hutchinson was asked about the status of the Team Sports directive during today's press conference. He indicated that since Arkansas is on "pause" right now, he is not modifying the June 1 Team Sports directive until the COVID case numbers come down. No more specifics or timelines for re-evaluation were provided. This means that all soccer teams in Arkansas must continue to follow the June 1 directive which includes no contact practices, no games/friendlies, and social distancing of 12 feet during vigorous exercise, among other restrictions.
As a refresher, the full content of the June 1 directive can be found here:
Ultimately, the number of cases and positivity rates need to decline before Governor Hutchinson is going to lift the Team Sports restrictions. Governor Hutchinson continued to encourage everyone to wear masks when unable to adequately social distance in public.
For those interested in the press conference, the link is below with a reference to the portion pertaining to the Team Sports directive:
Fast forward to 32:37-34:00
Arkansas Soccer Association will continue to monitor the situation with respect to local, state, and federal regulations regarding our ability to return to the pitch and will update you once we obtain new information. Stay well.
Good morning, Everyone. I wanted to reach out to all of you to let you know that Governor Hutchinson slightly modified his May 21 directive on team sports. The changes are not substantial but are significant enough to warrant a modification to our Return to Play Protocols so as to mirror the Governor's directive. The link below will direct you to our revised protocols with the changes highlighted in yellow. In short, though, here is a quick summary of the modifications:
1. Team practices are defined as scrimmages, simulated competition, and drills that require personal contact within 12 feet. No real change to our prior protocols, as that was our interpretation of the original directive - teams may train together but must maintain 12 feet social distancing during vigorous exercise.
2. While players should still use their own equipment, the directive now allows for the passing of a ball between teammates, provided that the players and coaches continue to remain 12 feet apart at all times. Players are no longer required to solely use their own ball.
3. While coaches and staff are still required to wear face coverings at all times for indoor activities, face coverings are now just "strongly encouraged" for outdoor activities. They are not required for outdoor sports. Similarly, players are "strongly encouraged" to wear face coverings when not actively participating in an outdoor sports activity but are not required to do so. For indoor sports activities, players are still required to wear face coverings where a face covering is not inhibitory.
All other elements of the directive remain in effect. More details can be found in the link so please be sure to read the entirety of the protocols to fully understand all portions of the directive. There is also a link to the directive itself within the Return to Play Protocols. Of course, all other local, state, and federal directives must be followed so if your city has requirements that are different than those set forth by Governor Hutchinson in his directive, you will need to comply with those local mandates.
Stage 1 Protocols for Soccer in Arkansas May 21-June 30 Document
US Soccer Grassroots Play On Guidelines
Memo to ASA Clubs re Directive of May 21, 2020
Stage 1 Protocols for Soccer in Arkansas Document
Email to Clubs & Coaches
As states are beginning to look at re-opening, ASA continues to look to the future in the hopes of getting back on the pitch as soon as it is safe to do so. As many of you know, the White House has released new guidelines for states to follow with respect to the timing of their re-opening. Recreational sports is noted to be a Phase 2 event. During yesterday's press conference, Governor Hutchinson noted a timeline that suggests Arkansas will meet the "gating" requirements to enter Phase 1 on May 4. Thereafter, assuming all remains as planned during Phase 1, Phase 2 would commence on May 18. As such, at this time ASA is targeting May 18 as our Return to Play date. It is possible that this could change but that is our target at this juncture.
Please note that ASA has been advised by our insurance carrier that insurance coverage does not apply during any suspension of play. This means that any practices, friendlies, or tryouts that occur during this time are not sanctioned events and would not have insurance coverage should anyone get injured.
The ASA Board of Directors has extended our suspension of soccer related activities through May 1. This remains a “suspension” – not a “cancellation” – as we are hopeful of extending the spring season into the summer months. More details will follow on that topic. As we approach the end of April, we will be re-evaluating the May 1 deadline to see if play may resume on May 2 or if a further extension is required. Thank you for your continued support and patience.
May 15 Return to Play Date USYS Document
USYS Programming & Advisory Notice
Good morning, Everyone, and I hope you, your families, players, coaches, referees, and the entire soccer community is staying healthy during these difficult times. As some of you are aware and others may have seen on USYS' social media platforms, USYS has made the very difficult decision to cancel their 2020 Presidents Cup, 2020 National Championship, and all related Regional events previously scheduled to occur. While I know this decision is disappointing, as you will see in the below advisory notice from USYS, it was not made lightly and it contemplated a number of concerns raised throughout the country, namely flight/travel issues, expenses for families facing financial strains due to unexpected layoffs, the ability of the players to be ready to resume to that level of play without the benefit of sufficient practices, and the likelihood that some states would return to play far earlier than those states that have been more impacted by the virus. Please feel free to disseminate the document in the link below to your coaches, particularly classic coaches, and direct them to our website which continues to be a good source of the latest information: http://www.arkansassoccer.org/covid19_us_youth_soccer_advisory_/
/Content/directors/upimg/dir5210/usys programming and advisory notice 033120.pdf
Additionally, please note that USYS has suspended its soccer-related events through May 1. However, USYS is still allowing each State Association to make their own decision regarding return to play dates. As such, presently, ASA's date remains as April 17. As I noted on our conference call last week, I think it is very likely that this date will be extended to May 1, but at this time, we have not made that decision. In the next week or so, if not earlier, we will revisit that date to see if an extension is warranted, but given President Trump's comments yesterday about the next two weeks ahead, I think a May 1 date is probably forthcoming. Still, we will give it a chance to see how things play out. Keep an eye out for updates in the coming days.
For now, all events remain on calendar as scheduled -- Ron Heller (May 2-3), State Championship Qualifying Weekend (May 9-10), and State Championship Finals Weekend (May 16-17). Obviously, though, if/when a May 1 extension occurs, these dates would be revisited, assuming we can play them at all. As with our return to play date, more on this will follow in the coming days. If I had to guess, though, I would anticipate that these dates will be changing, but as of now, they have not.
Please be sure to follow us on social media for more updates on these types of issues, as well as some more positive news and information to help keep the kids engaged in the sport, and be sure to direct your coaches and parents to the website noted above, as we do post updates on that page that are not necessarily presented in emails or social media.
As always, if there is anything we can do for you during these difficult times, please let me know and we will help in any way possible. Until then, take care and stay well.
Here are some things everyone can do to help flatten the curve:
"Stay at Home"
Things You CAN Do
- Go to the grocery store or pharmacy
- Order delivery or take out from a restaurant
- Call a plumber or electrician
- Go to the bank, post office or gas station
- Go for a run or walk with your dog
- Practice social distancing
Things You CAN'T Do
- Buy more than you need
- Travel for non-essential purposes
- Visit a playground
- Go to the gym, or dine in at a restaurant
- Gather in groups
"Social Distancing" is the practice of reducing close contact between people to slow the spread of infections or diseases. Measures to take include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and or canceling events. Keep at least 6'-8' distance between yourself and others.
- Visitors in your home
- Mass transit systems
- Non-essential workers in your home
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently
- Cover your mouth when you cough
- If you sneeze use a tissue and wash your hands immediately
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth as much as possible
- Clean down frequently used spaces in your home such as kitchen, bathroom and door and cabinet handles
- Assure you have secured any medications you or your family needs for a 30-90 day supply
- Check for any symptoms of "fever, cough, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue or even diarrhea at times
- Recognize that unless you are a "high risk" individual or moderately or severely ill the guidance is to stay home
- If you feel you need to be seen by a health care provider try to call in advance for assistance and direction
- A Fever is a temperature above 100.4F
- Use Tylenol only as directed for fever and pain control
- Stay hydrated and assure appropriate nutrition and sleep to optimize yourself and others
- Please see COVID "Testing Decision Tree"
For Further Information
CNN Tip Sheet
As all of you are aware, Governor Hutchinson has closed all Arkansas schools through April 17 as a result of the Coronavirus. Based upon our ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of our players, referees, coaches, parents, and spectators, Arkansas Soccer Association is extending its suspension of all soccer-related activities from March 29 through April 17. We will be re-evaluating the status of this situation in the next 1-2 weeks to determine if a further extension is warranted. Again, this is a suspension of the season – not a cancellation of the season – as we continue to hope that soccer will recommence in the near future once this virus is contained. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission
All -- I just wanted to touch base with you to update everyone with respect to where things stand on the status of our suspension of soccer-related activities. Right now, we are continuing to monitor the situation and are maintaining the suspension through March 29. However, in light of Governor Hutchinson's announcement this afternoon that Arkansas now has 33 presumed positives, up from 22 cases yesterday, it is conceivable that the March 29 date may be extended. We do not need to make that decision at this time, though, and will continue to monitor things over the coming days to see what information is learned in the near future to better determine the best course of action moving forward that keeps everyone's health and safety in the forefront for those decisions.
Along those lines, USYS has advised us that they are taking a similar "wait and see" approach for a few days and are planning for their events to proceed as scheduled, including Regional events in Dallas and South Carolina. We are doing likewise with respect to our recreational and State Championship events in May.
With respect to recreational competition (both in-house and CARL), if a further suspension is warranted, it is possible that we would double up weekends with games and/or extend the season into the summer. As we see how this virus unfolds in the coming days, we will be more equipped to make more educated decisions on these issues. Again, this is a very fluid situation, but we are closely monitoring things from multiple sources so as to best be prepared to make those decisions.
In the meanwhile, I would urge your clubs and your parents to follow us on social media and check our link on our website with additional information: http://www.arkansassoccer.org/covid19_us_youth_soccer_advisory_/
On social media, we are providing updates on the impact of the coronavirus on soccer-related activities, but we are also providing individual training information, coaching education materials, and various raffles to keep everyone engaged in soccer while maintaining the governmental recommendation of social distancing. Right now through Friday evening, we have a contest for a free soccer ball and ASA shirt for simply sharing a picture or video of your player practicing his or her skills during this suspension of play.
More updates will follow, but I wanted to touch base with the clubs directly to let you know that we are continuing to monitor things and will make a more informed decision on our March 29 suspension date in the coming days.
Thank you for your support and stay well.
Arkansas Soccer Association
For those that have been inquiring, ASA is suspending soccer related activities through March 29. This is not a "cancellation" but a suspension. We will be monitoring things over the coming days and will provide additional updates as more information is known, but it is our hope that once the Coronavirus is more contained, we will be able to resume soccer related activities this spring and would look for all games (classic, recreational, and in-house) to be rescheduled, if at all possible. And, again, be sure to check our social media pages and the following link for more information.
USYS has provided the following additional recommendation: Every registered player with Arkansas Soccer Association (ASA) who has come in contact with anyone diagnosed with coronavirus, or if they become infected themselves, should alert their club. The club must then notify ASA that one of their registered players has been exposed or has been tested and found to be presumptive positive. ASA will then incorporate that information in decisions on future matches for that club and ASA's leagues.
Given the overwhelming public and governmental concern about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the endless amount of cancellations of public events across the country, Arkansas Soccer Association (ASA) feels it is both prudent and socially responsible to suspend all ASA-related soccer events state-wide effectively immediately through March 29. US Soccer and US Youth Soccer have also cancelled events in the South Region. ASA is compelled to follow suit. We shall reevaluate the public health situation going forward and will make a determination later in the month regarding the resumption of ASA-related soccer activities based upon information at that time.
UPDATE FROM US YOUTH SOCCER 3/5/2020:
Given current health and travel concerns, we wanted to provide you with an overview of the steps USYS is taking to keep our community safe and informed. We are proactively engaged in ongoing communications with all travel providers, related government agencies, and our soccer community at the national, regional and local level.
For all USYS organized international travel, a reminder that our current roster of travel providers have decades of experience and 24/7 teams of risk management professionals, including security partners and on-staff medical personnel. Because of the rapid development of this situation in varying countries, our travel partners consider real-time information from their local ground teams across the globe, as well as guidance from the CDC, World Health Organization, and U.S. Department of State. Our partners regularly advise us on conditions at our scheduled destinations, and they will continue to monitor and advise us as needed.
If you wish to stay informed of any US Government travel advisories, we invite you to review current US State Department Travel Advisories here:
You can find CDC Travel Health Notices here:
In addition to our organizational efforts, USYS encourages our soccer community to take all reasonable measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in their daily lives. Coronavirus and influenza are spread by exposure to droplets via coughing and by contact with surfaces touched by an infected person. Touching an infected surface and then touching your face, eyes, mouth or nose is a preventable route of transmission.
Here are some basic rules to help you and your family stay safe:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (at least 30 seconds).
Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose with your hands.
Clean or disinfect all areas of your training area after every use.
Use alcohol-based sanitizers in addition to frequent hand-washing. Carry small bottles of alcoholic disinfectant to use when hand-washing facilities are unavailable.
During camps, training and tournaments, maintaining hygiene is extremely important. Clothes should be washed after workouts.
Support your immune system with a varied, vitamin-rich diet with sufficient vegetables and fruit to help prevent infections. Fruit containing vitamin C, such as oranges or grapefruits, are particularly important.
Keep hydrated and drink enough to keep mucous membranes moist.
Flu vaccines are always recommended.
If an athlete, coach or staff member has symptoms such as coughing, fever or general malaise, they should contact their physician, should NOT attend practice and should consider self-isolation until evaluated by medical personnel.
If your child is sick, do NOT let them participate in any training or games. Stay home!
Players, coaches, referees & spectators should not shake hands.
A verbal "Good Game" or elbow bump is sufficient and encouraged.
Do not allow players to share water bottles.
As a source of information and support, USYS will continue to provide up-to-date information and resources when available to aid in information distribution, event preparation and organizational response. We will continue to make all efforts to ensure that our members and athletes are informed, safe and ready to compete.
Additional information on the Coronavirus and travel can be found at:
CDC Coronavirus FAQ Sheet
CDC Travel information
Recommendations from the FISA Sports Medicine Commission Coronavirus (02/27/2020)
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
Spanish Fact Sheet
Please know that we are watching the situation carefully and will continue to proactively share updates as they impact our organization. The safety and security of our soccer community is, and always will be, our highest priority!