Given the unprecedented circumstances, families likely will have questions about the Summer 2020 program. Here are answers to some common questions:
Q: Why weren't younger ages included in this summer program?
A: Somerville Youth Soccer understand that parents of younger players may be disappointed by the decision not to extend this summer program to those younger age groups. Ultimately, the SYS board felt that it was too great a challenge trying to ensure compliance at those ages with the many public health guidelines in place this summer.
Q: Why are you waiting until July 6 to start the program?
A: While Massachusetts and the City of Somerville allowed youth sports to resume on June 8 and Mass Youth Soccer sanctioned soccer activities beginning this past Monday (June 15), SYS administrators need time for registration and planning to do this right. SYS is particularly concerned about getting proper COVID-19 measures in place to ensure everything is done right to minimize the risk to the community's health. The board also felt that by waiting until after the Fourth of July weekend, there would be an increased likelihood of Phase III of re-opening being in effect by then, as well as the benefit of avoiding a lot of families missing the first session of the program due to the Fourth of July holiday.
Q: How would Phase III be different from Phase II for youth soccer?
Given the encouraging trends at the state and local level, SYS is hopeful of avoiding Phase II entirely by waiting until July to start. The earliest possible date for Phase III to begin is Monday, June 29. The Commonwealth's Reopening Massachusetts plan lists scrimmages and games as allowed during Phase III, so SYS is optimistic that will be the case, along with some sort of increase in the assemblage limits that would allow larger teams to take the field as a whole. Most of the other Phase II guidelines likely would remain the same in Phase III.
Q: What health safeguards will be in place to protect the health of the community?
A: The City of Somerville is providing hand sanitizer at all fields in the city. Mass Youth Soccer has said they will be sending personal-sized hand sanitizer containers to towns for distribution to groups. There will be a 15-minute buffer period between sessions to prevent overlap between departing and arriving players. Players will need to wear a face covering during their sessions when they are unable to maintain physical distancing and coaches and spectators will be required to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing at all times. Any team equipment that is used in sessions will be disinfected before and after each use and no sharing of equipment, clothing, and water bottles is allowed. Any child or adult who is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not turn up to sessions and should get tested. Once 14 days have elapsed since COVID-19 symptoms, the child or adult is allowed to return to soccer.
Q: How will financial assistance work for registration?
A: These are trying times financially for a lot of families, so Somerville Youth Soccer will be waiving the registration fee entirely for any families who need it. Simply answer Yes to the question about needing financial assistance with fees during registration and you'll see your registration fees waived, no questions asked.
Q: What if my family is going to be away for some of these sessions?
A: You are welcome to register even if you only can commit to some of the sessions. SYS understand some families will be going away this summer and that both coaches and players will miss some sessions. Everyone will need to be adaptable and flexible.
Q: How will groups be formed?
A: The plan is to use Fall 2019 teams as the basis for forming groups. If more than 11 players from a Fall 2019 team register for the summer, the team will be split into two groups to conform to limits on the size of groups. If registration numbers are low for multiple teams, those players will be combined into one group. The goal will be to try to place players of similar skill level into these groups.
Q: Who will be my child's coach?
A: In most cases, the same coach they had in the fall. Some coaches from the fall won't be able to coach this summer, in which case there will be new volunteers assigned as needed.
Q: Can I request a teammate or coach?
A: Regrettably, no. The hectic and compressed planning schedule isn't going to allow for accommodation of teammate or coach requests. Please trust SYS to put your child in a good place where they'll enjoy their experience and hopefully develop as a player.
Q: What will my child need for sessions?
A: They'll need to show up wearing a face covering and with their own (filled) water bottle, hand sanitizer, ball, and personal gear -- including any goalkeeping equipment. If and when Phase III arrives and scrimmages and games are permitted, players will be asked to bring both light and dark shirts to sessions in lieu of using bibs/pinnies. For now, please leave all food at home.
Q: Will spectators be allowed to stay and watch these sessions?
A: Only ONE (1) adult or youth chaperone per player may stay and observe the sessions. Spectators must follow all public health guidelines, which means wearing a face covering and maintaining proper distancing at all times.
Q: What about carpooling?
A: For the time being, carpooling should be avoided. SYS depends heavily on carpooling as an organization, so there is no denying this will present a challenge for some families.