Rules During COVID-19 Pandemic

RULES OF PLAY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The S.C. Norfolk Board has adopted these new rules in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  As you know, Massachusetts now classifies soccer as a Moderate Risk Activity and permits Level 1, 2, and 3 type of play.  In accordance with the amended Executive Order, the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association has developed a set of guidelines governing our return to play.  These rules follow those required by MYSA.  You can find more information at MYSA Return to Soccer Activities.

The Modified Rules below may change during the season.  The S.C. Norfolk Board will provide further guidance and updates to this page should any of the Modified Rules change. 

GENERAL RULES

  • Each club will assign a COVID-19 Safety Officer.  Rick Kizik is the COVID-19 Safety Officer for S.C. Norfolk.
  • Each team will have a Team COVID Safety Coordinator. This will be a Coach or Assistant Coach who will enforce these rules.
  • No more than 25 players and coaches are allowed per single playing surface.  A single playing surface is a standard 7v7 or 9v9 field and does not include the sidelines.
    • This will impact practices.  We cannot have two teams on a field for practices.
    • We will have to space practice times to limit clusters of people before/after practice.
    • We haven’t finalized the team practice schedule yet but the “slots” will consider both of the preceding bullets.  
  • No more than 50 persons may surround a single playing surface.  
    • Only 1 spectator (parent, legal guardian, or chaperone) is allowed per player.
    • Minors may accompany spectators but count toward the 50-person rule.
    • Players must arrive ready to play 5 minutes before kickoff and must leave immediately after the game.  Do not loiter in the parking lots as we will have another game as soon as 20 minutes after the end of your game.
    • Warm ups (for our teams and our opponents) are not permitted on an adjacent field, even if the surface is not occupied.
  • All persons must always wear facial coverings and maintain six feet of social distance.
  • All players must wear facial coverings (Neck Gaiters are NOT allowed).  Specifically (from the EEA),

The State requires facial coverings to be worn by all participants except: a) During high intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities. b) When distancing of 6 feet or more is possible between participants whenever feasible. c) For individuals that are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability. The State specified that soccer players should have facial coverings with them at all times and where possible play with the facial covering on, removing it for long runs down the field, for plays without close contact, and in the goal. Participants for all sports must wear facial coverings while on the sidelines at ALL times and in any huddles or time-outs. 

MODIFIED PLAYING RULES 

  • No Heading the ball.
  • No Shoulder to Shoulder contact. 50/50 challenges, block tackling, and poke tackling are permitted so long as there is no physical contact.
  • No Slide Tackling.
  • Throw-Ins are suspended and to be replaced by a Kick-in. 
  • All opponents must remain at least 10 yards from all kick ins and must distance at least 6 feet from all players. This applies to corner kicks as well.    
  • No Dropped Balls.  Referee will award the ball to the team deemed to be in possession based on her/his judgment.  
  • No traditional Defensive Walls are permitted
  • Except for a GK wearing gloves, the ball may not be hand touched by anyone.  If a ball is touched or carried, it must be sent to the Home Coach to be sanitized before it can be used in play.  The Home Coach must always provide a sanitized ball during team activities. 

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Coaches

  • Wear facial covering at all times and ensure social distancing.
  • Ensure the health and safety of all athletes.
  • Enforce facial covering requirements during ALL team activities.
  • Ensure athletes arrive dressed for practice and leave immediately after practice. 
  • Inquire how athletes are feeling, send them home if you believe they are acting or look ill.
  • No handshakes, fist or elbow bumps, or any other physical contact.
  • You will be provided hand sanitizer and sanitized wipes.  Make sure all players use hand sanitizer upon arrival to and upon departure from the fields.
  • Enforce the No Sharing of Equipment.  You will be provided a game ball(s), an air pump, GK gloves and practice cones.  GK gloves are intended for a single player during all team activities.  You must sanitize the gloves after all team activities.  You will not have a team bench, practice balls, or pinnies.  
  • Only coaches may handle practice cones and game balls.  You must sanitize game balls any time they are touched without gloved hands.  
  • Maintain a roster of player attendance for all team activities.
  • NO team snacks during halftime.  NO sharing of water during any team activity. 

Special rules for Team COVID Safety Coordinator

  • Communicate COVID-19 policies with team (masks, balls, hand sanitizer, social distancing)
  • Communicate S.C. Norfolk COVID-19 rules to opposing coaches before game days
  • Keeps accurate attendance records for practices and games. Necessary for contact tracing.
  • Monitor sidelines to ensure COVID-19 policies (physical distancing, masks) are being followed.

Parents

  • Ensure your player is fit to play and not showing any signs of illness.  
  • Ensure your player follows facial covering requirements arriving to and departing from all team activities.  
  • Ensure your player brings a ball, water, shin guards, GK gloves (if necessary) and two t-shirts (light, dark) to practice.
  • 1 spectator ONLY per game.
  • Wear facial coverings at all times for team events and practice social distancing.
  • Ensure players adhere to time specifications described above for all team events.
  • Please adhere to MYSA recommendation re: no carpooling.  We understand it may not be feasible.
  • Sanitize player equipment after use.
  • Complete the waiver at the end of this document.  No player will be permitted to attend any team activity without a signed waiver.  This is a MYSA requirement that S.C. Norfolk must follow. 

Players

  • Practice good hygiene at all team events.
  • Do NOT share any equipment or any of your personal belongings.
  • Arrive ready to play with your own ball, water bottle, shin guards, GK gloves, and t-shirts (one light, one dark).
  • Bring your own chair to games.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times during practices and while on sidelines. 
  • No group celebrations, handshakes, fist bumps, etc…

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In the event someone in our soccer community contracts COVID-19, we will take necessary steps to ensure all rules, regulations, and best practices are followed:  

  • Affected individual or parent should contact Rick Kizik, the S.C. Norfolk COVID-19 Safety Officer.  Rick will contact the local DPH.  
  • All Parties who have had close contact with the individual will be notified using the COVID diagnosis notification form, found in the resource section of the Return to Soccer Activities page of MA Youth Soccer website. 
  • All teams and individuals that have come in close contact with the individual will have soccer activities suspended for 14 days.

Anyone not conforming to these rules will not be permitted to attend any team events.  We understand this may be considered harsh, but these rules have been put in place to ensure the safety of our community.  S.C. Norfolk will not refund any registration fees to those disqualified from play for violating these rules.