May 26, 2020

Dear Club and League Representatives:

At this point in time, a ‘return to training’ is not currently permitted. The Michigan State Youth Soccer Association’s (MSYSA) return-to-training guidelines apply once MSYSA has indicated that it is safe for an initial return-to-training in limited-size groups, and with adherence to social distancing. These are being provided so that our affiliated league/clubs, team officials and parents/players can prepare now on what is expected once MSYSA has indicated it is safe for an initial return-to-training.

For now, a return-to-training, with coaching (onsite) observing social distancing, may occur when Governor Whitmer has indicated that the entire state of Michigan has entered Phase 5. For reference, Governor Whitmer’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Executive Order is in effect through June 12, 2020. Out of an abundance of caution for our participants and families, MSYSA’s return-to-play date is June 15, 2020, at the earliest. In the event that MSYSA receives favorable clarification on potential youth soccer activities from MDHHS during Phase 4, MSYSA will update our guidance to be consistent with MDHHS.

During an initial return-to-training, clubs must:
·     Read and review MSYSA’s criteria for small group training sessions (includes athletes, coaches and staff).
·     Create and distribute protocols to members.
·     Have an effective communication plan in place.
·     Identify strategies for working with public health officials to notify adult leaders, youth, and their families if the organization becomes aware of a participant or adult leader has developed COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others while at a youth activity.
·     Maintain participant confidentiality regarding health status.
·     Be sensitive and accommodating to parents who may be uncomfortable with returning to play at this time.
·     Have an action plan in place, in case of notification of a positive test result.
·     Train and educate all staff on protocols and requirements, including state and local regulations, CDC recommendations and other necessary safety information.
·     Be prepared to shut down and stop operations.
·     Develop plans for temporary closure of facilities for proper disinfection.
·     Provide adequate field space for social distancing.
·     Provide hand sanitizing stations (recommended) and waste receptacles at fields for individual participant use.
·     Contact, and seek guidance, from their insurance carrier(s) if not secured or provided by MSYSA’s insurance carrier and communicate that information to participants prior to initial training.

In addition, coaches/team officials must:
·     Read and review MSYSA’s criteria for small group training sessions (includes athletes, coaches and staff).
·     Ensure you are healthy and you check your temperature before activities with others.
·     Ensure the health and safety of the participants.
·     Inquire if the athletes have experienced any ill feelings or COVID-19 symptoms. Send home anyone you believe acts or looks ill and advise them to contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
·     Follow all state and local health protocols and guidelines.
·     Ensure all athletes have their own individual equipment (ball, water, etc.)
·     Ensure the coach is the only person to handle equipment (e.g. cones); do not enlist parental or attendee assistance.
·     Ensure that all training is conducted outdoors (recommended) and compliant with social distancing per state or local health guidelines.
·     Always wear a face mask, even when not actively coaching.
·     Have fun, stay positive – players and parents are looking to you for leadership.
·     Do not use scrimmage jerseys, or pennies, at this time.

Before ‘returning to training’, MSYSA’s affiliated clubs and leagues are required to create, distribute, and be prepared to enforce all safety protocols, consistent with MSYSA’s guidelines. The information above represents abbreviated, high-level, guidelines as it relates to a ‘return-to-training’. It is important that our affiliated clubs and leagues feel comfortable with the new guidelines. If your club or league does not feel they can achieve the required level of compliance, then it is important that you not proceed until you are comfortable.

Please share this information with your affiliated team officials. In the interim, please continue to review our website, email communications, and social media platforms for updates.

Sincerely,

Thomas Faro
Executive Director

cc.:      MSYSA Board of Directors