As a result of the Governor’s placement of Louisiana into Phase 3, it is the opinion of the LSA Executive Committee that, assuming we all adhere to mitigation guidelines and common sense, we can return to play safely. While this does not mean the game will immediately return to pre-COVID-19 conditions, it does mean we can get our kids back on the field.
Return to Play
First and foremost, our return to play is still subject to the terms of all of the Governor’s official Proclamations. For instance, Louisiana is still under a mask mandate and the Governor has required outdoor sporting events operate at 25% capacity for spectators. Our return to play is dependent upon the authority of local fire marshals, health departments, parks and recreation departments and other governmental entities. The issue of 25% capacity should be addressed with local authorities before scheduling games or events. Every Club and Team must confirm with their local officials that their return to play shall be permitted on a local level so as to avoid instances of practices or games getting shut down or liability/medical insurance being invalidated.
We must all recognize that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is still very much a reality. We must all be committed to taking the mitigation measures with which we have all become so familiar or we increase the health risks. Many of these measures are set out in our original Phasing, Protocol and Responsibilities published in April.
LSA shall permit games to start on Saturday, September 12th with the beginning of the governor’s Phase 3 in Louisiana. Teams may, at their discretion, immediately begin their season, including LCSL play. Remember, however, that referees and field assignments may be an issue early on. Recreational programs can start right away. All LCSL teams should schedule their first game on or before the weekend of October 3-4. Should a Manager have any questions about the scheduling process visit our website at https://www.playlouisianasoccer.org/lcsl/scheduling/ or contact Ben Schoonover at email@example.com.
LSA is happy to announce the return of our Olympic Development Program (“ODP”). Tryouts for the younger age groups (’09, ’08, ’07) will be held on October 3rd and 4th and training for these age groups will begin on October 25th. Registration for the 2020-21 ODP year will open on Monday, September 14th. For more information on ODP visit he ODP pages on our website https://www.playlouisianasoccer.org/
Club tournaments are a vital part of the game across Louisiana. Clubs are now free to operate their tournaments, but will be expected to do so under the same mitigation measures we are all using day to day.
Example: Food concessions will be limited to packaged food and volunteers and patrons must observe masking and social distancing protocols.
LSA is strongly urging all of our LCSL teams to patronize Louisiana tournaments. Doing so
reduces travel costs for our families,
helps our clubs across the state begin to generate much needed revenue, and
provides an opportunity for our LCSL teams to play multiple league games in a single weekend.
Teams should consider coordinating with other teams in their LCSL bracket to attend the same club tournaments, requesting they be placed in the same tournament bracket and knocking out 2-3 LCSL games in a single weekend.
Clubs must continue to educate their coaches, players and parents of the risk of transmission of COVID-19. They must organize events with mitigation measures in mind.
Example: Clubs should avoid scheduling games on adjoining fields at the same time and should build time between games into their schedules so teams leaving a game are not intermingling with teams arriving for the next game.
Clubs are free to adopt their own organizational measures that may tend to mitigate the risk of transmission.
Example: Clubs can position teams on opposite sides of the field. Team benches would be located at midfield and the parents and supporters would position themselves on both sides of their team’s bench. This effectively divides parents and supporters into four quadrants and keeps families, teammates and friends familiar with each other together.
On the Field
Return to play with no restrictions as to the game. Practices, scrimmages and games can resume as pre-pandemic. Again, common and simple mitigation measures in the game must be observed,
Example: No goal celebrations, team huddles, switching pinnies, sharing drinks, etc.
but the game itself can be played without restriction. Clubs are free to adjust their recreational rules of play to incorporate mitigation measures.
Example: Kick-ins instead of throw-ins. This will avoid players picking up the ball with their hands.
Clubs can decrease the size of the teams on the field in their recreational programs. This may help clubs with formation of teams and may have the added benefit of increasing social distancing both on and off the field.
Off the Field
Before attending a soccer event, every individual including, but not limited to, players, coaches, parents and Club staff must satisfy the Participation Criteria established in our Phasing and Protocols in April (see: link to the webpage above). Essentially these criteria are basic obligations to observe before participating in any capacity in a soccer event. If there are any indications that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, take the appropriate measures or stay at home.
Coaches must set the tone by continuing to be diligent in their behavior. They should encourage their players and their supporters to observe common sense mitigation practices including the wearing of masks and social distancing. They should minimize instances and practices in which transmission of COVID-19 is likely.
Example: Coaches should wear a mask while addressing the team, should avoid team huddles and should handle all of the equipment. The coach must insure equipment (e.g. discs and pinnies) are disinfected/cleaned after each practice or game.
Players must take mitigation measures before, during and after every soccer event.
Examples: Wearing masks off the field, using hand sanitizer, social distancing and keeping equipment and apparel clean. Don’t share water bottles, pinnies or anything else that may allow the virus to be transmitted.
The LDH recognized that the threat of transmission of the coronavirus off the field was as prevalent as in the game itself. Parents and supporters should maintain social distancing, should wear masks and should minimize contact with non-family members where possible. Parents should continue to be diligent in helping their child sanitize and clean their uniform and equipment between events and encourage them to observe all of the mitigation practices