U.S. Soccer releases return-to-play guidelines for indoor soccer
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer has released guidelines for indoor soccer as part of its PLAY ON campaign, providing coaches, players, parents, referees and administrators with considerations to continue to ensure safe play indoors as winter approaches.
U.S. Soccer encourages playing outdoors whenever it is safe to do so in accordance with its Cold Weather Guidelines. When weather doesn’t permit outdoor play, these indoor recommendations will help evaluate and mitigate risk.
The guidelines advise the use of larger indoor facilities for acceptable social and physical distancing, as well as higher frequency air exchange rates to reduce risk. Shorter training sessions with fewer players on the field and no throw-ins can also help decrease risk, while players and coaches should continue to wear a mask when not physically active.
The indoor soccer considerations supplement comprehensive phased guides available at ussoccer.com/playon. PLAY ON guidelines are intended for use only when and if state and local authorities have deemed it safe to return to the field, indoors or outdoors.
“As inclement weather may force soccer to move indoors across the country, it’s important to be aware of the additional risks that may come with playing inside,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Chiampas. “While there are more risks in an indoor environment, there’s a lot that we can do to mitigate them. Keeping in mind things like air exchange rate and the size of the facility are a few factors that can help make indoor soccer as safe as possible. It’s also important that we only play indoors when local authorities approve it as safe to do so.”
PLAY ON was created to inform and assist in the process of organized soccer returning to play nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is divided into five progressive phases, from Phase 0 (stay at home) to Phase IV (no COVID-19 related restrictions).
Many recommendations for indoor soccer reinforce those presented as part of the initial PLAY ON guidelines. Facilities should assign areas and times for arrival and departure of participants and have hand sanitizing stations readily available. Participants should also clearly label their individual hydration bottles and not touch others’ bottles.
U.S. Soccer continues to encourage all players, coaches, parents, referees and administrators to take the PLAY ON Pledge, an oath to stay informed and to follow recommendations from medical professionals, to be honest in their self-evaluation and to be responsible to themselves, their family and their communities.
Through PLAY ON, U.S. Soccer provides updates and resources to the soccer community to help it navigate the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Along with providing best practices in the detailed and in-depth recommendation guides, the PLAY ON initiative includes instructional videos, sample training exercises, infographics and other resource materials.
All the resources for the PLAY ON initiative can be found in a virtual hub at ussoccer.com/playon.