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May 13 Update | Spring Soccer Season

May 13, 2020

If you can believe it, we’ve been in what seems like an altered state for two months now.  We continue to wish you and your families the best as you work your way through each day and sincerely hope the health of all those dear to you has not been touched by the virus.

As our organization has moved through the process of utilizing multiple sources in helping us make informed decisions, recently we added a key resource: Dr. J. Stacey Klutts, MD, PhD. who works with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Iowa VA Health System.  In addition to his MD, he holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.  He happens to also be a soccer parent in the Iowa Soccer Club (ISC) in Iowa City and we are grateful that he has offered to consult with Iowa Soccer to provide Iowa-specific data points and recommendations as we evaluate when and how we safely return to play (RTP).

  • Dr. Klutts’ clinical responsibilities include many areas of Clinical Pathology, including Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry and General Clinical Laboratory Administration.  His roles include: President, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS); Chair of the National VA Clinical Microbiology Council; Chief, Pathology and Laboratory Service, Central Iowa VA Health Care System; Staff Pathologist and Medical Director of Microbiology and Chemistry, Iowa City VA Health Care System; Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Iowa.
  • His projections about the pandemic’s presence in Iowa are formulated by using the University of Washington Model.
  • We are now including his modeling as one of the key drivers of developing our RTP date and what a return to play looks like.  This is in addition to the other factors we continue to assess including statewide restrictions.
  • Dr. Klutts will join us this Thursday at 7pm in our Leadership Engagement zoom meeting.

RTP Date for youth soccer: July 6, 2020
Effective May 13 the RTP date for youth soccer has been moved to July 6.  The image below is Dr. Klutts’ most recent timeline that projects July 6 as the earliest date we should consider for a safe return to play, as of May 8 data.
  • As a friendly reminder, this means that Iowa Soccer will not sanction any youth soccer activity until July 6 and without sanctioning, you do not have insurance coverage.
  • The RTP date will not be adjusted earlier than July 6, even if state government continues to ease restrictions or if future modeling data supports an earlier date


We acknowledge that as of today, our state government has already allowed some conditional “re-opening” in many counties across Iowa.  Please be advised that our RTP date for youth soccer may not align with what is being allowed in some or all counties.  We will continue to utilize many resources, including Dr. Klutts’ projections/recommendations and ask/answer these important questions as we make determinations about when to RTP and how:

  1. When is it is safe for kids and their families to return to group training?
  2. How can we make it as easy as possible for players to start playing again?
  3. How can we keep processes simple for our member clubs as they work to regain their footing?
  4. How might our decisions impact a family’s ability to afford playing soccer this fall?


We also acknowledge that future modeling could show an earlier RTP date is possible.  However, based upon the input we’ve gotten this spring in numerous member meetings, it is clear that those running clubs – be they volunteers or paid staff – need to know that any RTP date would not be adjusted earlier, even if safe to do so.  We are certain everyone receiving this message realizes just how many details are behind getting kids and coaches together on a field and understands that we’re at a pivotal time of the year with respect to the close of 2019-2020 seasonal year and the opening of the 2020-2021 seasonal year.  Under “normal” circumstances this pivot is demanding!

  • We respectfully ask that you understand the undue pressure it would put on these warriors in your club for us to set a July 6 RTP date and then as policy and/or data changes, decide to move it earlier than July 6.
  • Our decision to move the RTP date to July 6 is guided by data showing us when we can safely begin our return to play.
  • Our decision not to move the RTP date earlier, even if data supports such a move, is driven by asking and answering question #3 (above).


Finally, please keep in mind that the virus is on its own timeline.  Although we are REALLY ready to see the game being played again, the RTP date is always subject to being pushed later as conditions and/or local/state/federal policies impact a safe return to playing again!


Phased-in RTP
In last week’s message, we touched on the new reality facing the youth sports industry when it becomes safe enough to start training and competing again.  It is quite clear that the day we hit the fields for the first time will not look like it did just a few months ago.  Virus mitigation efforts will become a familiar part of engaging as a player, coach, referee or parent/fan of the game for the foreseeable future.  These efforts will include a phased-in approach to returning to the field.
As our organization and other national governing bodies build out these phases, we’re projecting four stages of what a safe and responsible “Return to Play” will be for our youth members.  Currently we’re building out the following phases and share this now for your understanding.  Please be aware, these phases could be modified as more information becomes available and we will push out details and/or updates as they are determined:
  • RTP Phase 1 (Current)
    • Virtual training sessions with no physical contact
  • RTP Phase 2 (July 6)
  • Under strict conditions, limited numbers of players/coaches could engage in an on-field training environment.  Conditions TBA.
  • Following certain conditions, a full team of players/coaches could engage in an on-field training environment.  Conditions TBD based upon the latest data.
  • Continuation of basic mitigation tactics as teams/coaches begin to play in competitions again (league, tournament, festival, etc…).  Conditions TBD based upon the latest data, policies and best practices.
  • RTP Phase 3 (Date TBD)
  • RTP Phase 4 (Date TBD)