US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne urges members to err on side of caution this season
US Club Soccer CEO Kevin Payne penned a letter to membership on Monday, urging a cautious approach to the 2020-2021 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although US Club Soccer lifted its national suspension of all soccer activities back in May, member leagues and clubs have been required to abide by their respective local public health regulations when deciding whether to return to play or not.
As concerns over COVID-19 continue in the lead-up to the new youth soccer season, decisions are being made quickly at the college level as already numerous NCAA conferences have already opted to postpone their fall competition. Payne did not reference the possibility of a new national suspension going into effect, but heavily emphasized that all US Club Soccer members should take the pandemic extremely seriously heading in to the fall, stating: “Members should err on the side of caution in health and safety matters.”
See below for the full letter to US Club Soccer membership from Payne:
The prospect of any new season brings optimism and renewed passion. And while that’s true for the 2020-21 season, there’s also good reason to balance excitement with caution. The COVID-19 pandemic is still very real and affecting many states around the country – in some areas worse than ever.
We must harness that optimism and passion and apply an unrelenting commitment to everyone’s health and safety. Like most organizations, we made difficult decisions to suspend or cancel programming in the 2019-20 season. And we’d like nothing more than to turn the page and welcome the 2020-21 season without restraint. But, all of us must continue to ask ourselves if our actions are responsible for all our families – both our club soccer families and our families at home.
Recognizing the wide range of impact that COVID-19 is having throughout the country, US Club Soccer lifted its national suspension of activities on May 18, which delegated the return-to-play decision making to our members. Our stance on returning to play remains the same as it was in mid-May: abide by local public health regulations and enjoy a safe return to the game we all love. Those can, and should, be done in harmony.
As a reminder: for activities to be sanctioned with the normal US Club Soccer-provided insurance coverage in effect, members returning to play must be in compliance with requirements/mandates established by the applicable local and state public health authorities.
Of course, US Club Soccer always encourages members to follow optional guidelines or recommendations established by local and state public health authorities, to the extent applicable and possible. Members should err on the side of caution in health and safety matters.
There have been new return-to-play resources released in recent weeks, which are detailed below. For insurance-related questions, please refer to the COVID-19 section of our Insurance web page.
- CDC’s directory of local, state and territorial health departments
- CDC’s COVID-19 Considerations for Youth Sports
- U.S. Soccer PLAY ON: Return-to-Play Guidelines (Phases 1, 2 and 3 are all available)
- ECNL’s Recommendations for Returning to Play:
- To training environments
- To competitions
- Players First partner Player’s Health web page: archived Facebook Live episode, discounted Kinduct COVID-19 screening for teams, return-to-play guide and discounted imPACT concussion testing
We remain as proud as ever of the resilience of the soccer community. Together, we will not just return to the way things used to be, but we’ll form an even more fulfilling, Players First-focused environment for every child.