ZIA YOUTH SOCCER LEAGUE'S COVID-SAFE RETURN-TO-PLAY PROTOCOL

UPDATE:  Effective 10/16/2020, New Mexico's Public Health Order will no longer permit youth sports to practice in groups larger than five players to one coach.  Coaches have been instructed to amend their activities and session plans accordingly.  All other requirements remain the same.

As of 9/18/2020, New Mexico's Emergency Public Health Order has been amended to again allow youth soccer instructional programs in groups of up to ten players to one coach, following specific covid-safe guidelines.  Therefore, we are moving forward with a modified fall 2020 skills-n-drills program.  This program adheres to all of the state's restrictions, including NO GAMES and NO SCRIMMAGES, limited to contactless skills-n-drills activities that keep the kids safely 6-feet apart.  It is imperative that all league members who choose to participate in this program fully adhere to this protocol in order to ensure everyone's safety and the continuation of youth soccer in New Mexico.   

***IMPORTANT!  ALL PARTICIPATING LEAGUE MEMBERS:  Do NOT participate if you, your child, a household member or someone you have been in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibited ANY COVID-19 symptoms within the past two weeks.  Should you, your child, or anyone in your household be exposed or receive a positive COVID-19 test, both league administration AND the New Mexico Department of Health shall be notified immediately.  Additional protocol will be in place for ANY league member who tests positive or undergoes quarantine for exposure, prior to returning to league activity.***

- Should a participating player show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they should be sent home immediately and instructed to contact their healthcare provider.  League administration shall be notified and the player shall not participate in future sessions without following proper return protocol as directed by the league.

- High risk individuals, including both youth and adults, are encourage NOT to participate in the skills-n-drills sessions, and are advised to stay home in accordance with CDC guidelines.  

- No parent or child should participate in soccer activities if they are not comfortable for any reason.


HEALTH AND SAFETY TRAINING AND EDUCATION:

1)  All coaches will participate in an online COVID health and safety training prior to meeting with any player or parent in person.

2)  Parents shall review and educate their children regarding proper hygiene and safety protocols including thorough hand washing, not touching the face, properly covering the mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing, and social distancing.  Players must follow all of these recommended hygiene and safety protocols at all times during soccer sessions. 

3)  Coaches shall review with their players the importance of the aforementioned proper hygiene and safety protocols before each and every practice.  Remember, no participating child is too young to understand these basic life-saving concepts.  


PRE-SESSION HEALTH CHECKS:

1)  All coaches shall check their own temperatures within one hour of attending a skills-n-drills session.  Coaches shall cancel the session, notify both team members AND league administration, and remain home if at any time their temperature reads 100.4 or greater, or if any COVID-19 symptoms exist as identified by the CDC.  Coaches should NOT ask a spouse or other household member to fill in as coach for the session, as that person should be considered potentially exposed.

2)  Likewise, all parents shall check their players' temperatures within one hour of attending a session, and shall keep their child home if at any time their temperature reads 100.4 or greater, or if any COVID-19 symptoms exist as identified by the CDC.

3)  As players arrive at the park for their sessions, coaches shall conduct a brief verbal health check on each and every participant.  This includes asking the player if they, a family member, or anyone else they have been in close contact with is experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have any reason to believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19.  If the child is too young to answer this themselves, the parent should be asked (from 6-feet away) before returning to their vehicle to observe the session from a safe distance.


SKILLS-N-DRILLS SESSION COVID SAFETY PROTOCOL:

1)  Coaches shall adhere to all covid-safe practices as described by the State of New Mexico. 

2)  Coaches understand that team sizes are currently limited to a ratio of ten players to one coach, with no group ever exceeding a maximum size of ten youth.  Coaches shall NOT permit additional friends, family, former team members, peers, or anyone else to join in on their team's activities without league approval and shall NOT allow the group limit to ever exceed ten children.

3)  Coaches who work with more than one team shall NOT allow members of different teams to intermix before, during, or after sessions.  Groups need to remain self-contained, with the same players interacting with one another from session to session.  If a single coach works with two groups scheduled back-to-back, there must be a minimum of fifteen minutes between sessions in order to allow time for one group to leave the park before the other arrives.  

4)  Players should arrive at the park no more than five minutes prior to their session start time, fully dressed for activity and ready to go. If a player arrives earlier than that, they must wait in their vehicle until time to go to the field.  Players shall walk directly to their session field without passing through other sessions.  If walking with a teammate, a minimum of six feet must remain between them the entire time.  Players must leave the park promptly at the end of their session.  Social distancing of a minimum of six feet must be observed at all times, including during arrival and departure from the park.

5)  Bags or other equipment brought to the park must be kept at least six feet from others' equipment.  Players are NOT to share equipment, and are not permitted to touch the coach's equipment at any time, with the exception of a coach-provided properly sanitized ball used for ball-sharing drills, as discussed below.

6)  Coaches and players must sanitize their hands (and goalkeeper gloves and other equipment), before and after their sessions, and periodically during the session as needed.  Again, hands MUST be freshly sanitized prior to entering the session field.

7)  There shall be NO intentional physical contact between ANYONE.  No handshakes, high fives, elbow bumps, or ANY other form of intentional physical contact before, during or after soccer activities. Observe social distancing of an absolute minimum of 6 feet at all times.

8)  Players shall NOT share food or drinks.

9)  Coaches and players are required to wear proper face coverings such as masks at all times in accordance with the State of New Mexico's current requirements.  This includes during exercise and activity.  Many new sport-friendly styles of masks are becoming available, which are highly breathable and increasingly comfortable for use in active environments.  

10)  Coaches shall sanitize and properly disinfect any equipment they bring to and use during their session (balls, cones, goals, etc) before and after each session, as well as periodically during the session as needed.  Only coaches shall handle such equipment.  Players shall never be asked to set up, move, or gather ANY session equipment.  

11)  Each player shall bring their own ball to the session for individual drills.  Parents must sanitize their child's ball before and after each practice.  No player shall ever be asked to share his or her ball with another player.  Should socially-distanced ball-sharing drills take place, a coach-provided ball shall be used, properly sanitized before and after the drill, and periodically during the drill as needed.  Ball-sharing drills shall not involve any sort of holding, catching, juggling, heading, or otherwise having a player's ball, or a coach's shared ball, in prolonged contact with another player.  There should be no headers or throw-ins under any circumstances.

- Goalkeeper Exception:  If a drill is taking place that utilizes a goalkeeper, the goalkeeper must disinfect his or her hands AND gloves before and after taking the position.  The goalkeeper must be the only player to touch the ball with hands during the drill, and the ball must be disinfected once the drill is complete.  If more than one player takes the goalkeeper position during any single session, a different coach-provided and properly sanitized ball shall be used for each keeper.

12)  ONLY socially-distanced drills and activities which keep the players consistently a minimum of six feet from one another shall take place.  Games and scrimmages of any sort remain PROHIBITED.

13)  The use of pinnies is prohibited due to sanitation concerns.  Should a coach plan a drill or activity that requires players to be identified by different colored shirts, then he or she shall request in advance that the players arrive at the park wearing specifically-colored shirts accordingly. 

14)  No spitting on or near the soccer field!

15)  Should a non-life-threatening medical issue or injury occur during a session, the player should leave the field and seek the assistance of his or her parent in their vehicle or at a medical facility, if able.  In case of an emergency, or if the child is not able to walk to his or her parent, the coach shall take all steps possible to SAFELY ensure that the child is stable (sanitizing his or herself fully before and after any unavoidable contact with the child), and shall immediately retrieve the parent for assistance.  Coaches are encouraged to have all parents' telephone numbers readily accessible in their cell phones for this purpose, and parents are encouraged to stay visible from the session field for this purpose.  Coaches MUST remind players to keep a safe distance of at least six feet from the injured or ill child, and from one another, at all times.  


PARENTS:

1)  Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child arrives to their session with plenty of their own water.  Players are NEVER to share water bottles.  

2)  Parents must provide hand sanitizer for their child's personal use before, during, and after soccer activity.

3)  Parents must ensure player’s clothing, gear and equipment is washed and sanitized before and after each soccer activity. 

4)  Parents and guardians who bring players to sessions are encouraged to stay in their cars, at the park, for the duration of the training session.  Parents are requested not to leave the park vicinity in case of player illness or injury.  Parents, guardians, friends and other family members are not to congregate together and should follow all social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines at all times.

5)  Porta-potties will not be placed at the parks this season due to sanitation concerns.  Parents, please keep this in mind as you prepare to leave home for your child's sessions.  

6)  All participants are responsible for picking up and removing their own trash.  If a parent or player brings anything to the park that creates trash, that parent or player shall be the one to clean it up.  No one shall be responsible for picking up other people’s trash.  Parents agree to leave fields clean.  Pack it in, pack it out please.

6)  Carpooling and shared transportation are HIGHLY discouraged at this time.  

7)  Parents shall communicate, preferably electronically, with their child's coach if any questions or concerns arise.


And finally, TRAVEL:

Any participating coach or player who travels out-of-state must notify the league of such travel, and is required to follow the most recent quarantine rules in accordance with the New Mexico Emergency Public Health Order upon their return.  Current details of rules in place may be viewed on the New Mexico Department of Health's website HERE.   


We thank all Zia Youth Soccer League members for their full cooperation and understanding as we keep the health and safety of each and every participant at the forefront of our concerns.  Adhering to this safety protocol helps ensure that players are able to continue enjoying their game.  We are excited for this opportunity to bring the kids back together safely, and look forward seeing their smiling faces back out on the soccer field!  

***Zia Youth Soccer League takes these safety precautions very seriously, and reserves the right to suspend, permanently ban, or otherwise take disciplinary action against any league member found to be intentionally disregarding these protocol, with or without warning.**

Contact

Zia Youth Soccer League

2505 Graceland Dr NE #36476 
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87176

Email Us: [email protected]
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