While millions of medical personnel around the world are doing everything possible to contain the COVID-19 virus, all of us at USYS is working hard to ensure the health and wellness of our entire USYS Family. As the largest and most influential youth sports organization in the country, we take that responsibility very seriously.
Several weeks ago we joined with other national sport organizations to provide health and safety guidelines, as well as lead from the front by proclaiming a national time-out for our sport. At that time we announced a suspension of our activities through May 1 That date served as a benchmark for our 55 State Associations to review conditions within their geographic region and to act accordingly.
We said at that time that we would update this programming suspension and today’s notice will likely be disappointing to many of you. As of today, we have decided to push back our return to activity date for our US Youth Soccer Conferences to May 1, 2020. This will allow all 55 State Associations to review the impact of COVID-19 on their members and make their own informed decisions on a return-to-play date. In addition, USYS is canceling the 2020 Presidents Cup, our 2020 National Championships and all of the regional competitions leading up to those two events.
Our decision embraces four core priorities:
Financial Impact to Families - COVID-19 is likely to have a devastating financial impact on many USYS families. As a result, many teams are unlikely to attend or attend with reduced rosters. At this time, we feel it would be unfair to place that additional burden on USYS families in need.
Stress on Families - If it were possible, however unlikely, that we could return to play in May, many families will still be hesitant to travel on an airplane or stay in a hotel. Again, we do not want to place that additional burden on our USYS families.
Integrity of USYS Competitions - If teams that would normally qualify for a Championship do not have the opportunity because of the impact of COVID-19, is it really a Championship? We must ensure that every club within the USYS Family has an equal opportunity to succeed and if they don’t, we diminish the integrity and meaning of the Championship. As of today, many States will not be able to complete their State Cups in time to qualify for Regionals, thus eliminating all of their potential teams from qualification.
Focus on Local USYS Leagues and Communities - many soccer clubs and their employed coaches survive on registration fees. At a time where every community will be struggling to find fields to start and complete even a part of their spring schedule, our focus should be on those local leagues to bring our communities back together through sport, not distracted by a national tournament. 2020 must be about coming back together, not just winning.
We can imagine the disappointment many players, coaches and families will feel. Not being able to join their team in a run for the Cup and fulfill their dreams and goals is extremely hard to fathom, especially for our oldest players hoping to make one last run at hoisting the National Championship Cup. We are also acutely aware of those older players hoping these competitions could support their college recruiting efforts. While there are no words to ease the disappointment, someday when they think about why the decision was made, they will hopefully come to agree that this was the right call.
Looking ahead, we will reassess our May 1st, 2020 return-to-play date and provide another update by April 15th.
On behalf of the USYS National Headquarters staff, Board of Directors, Committees, 55 State Associations and the many thousands of volunteers that are so generous with their time, thank you to all of you for helping to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States. Be safe, stay healthy and since you all have a soccer ball at home, try to also have some fun.
In concern for the well-being and safety of our players, coaches, referees and their families, our office has been monitoring the Coronavirus situation closely.
We are working with US Soccer, RI Department of Health, and our health partners to gather the most up-to-date and relevant information as it pertains to the safety of playing the game within our borders and interstate travel as some members will do in the ensuing weeks.
At this time, all SRI sanctioned tournaments, competitions and programs will continue as scheduled. Should there be any change to our position, we will update all parties involved.
As posted to the RI Department of Health website:
Someone's risk for COVID-19 is closely tied to their recent travel history, and the travel histories of their immediate contacts — specifically, travel to areas with community transmission of COVID-19 or close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19. Remember that interaction with someone who had contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19 does not pose a risk if that contact is not sick. One of the most important messages for us to remember is that someone’s nationality alone is not a risk factor for COVID-19.
What Rhode Islanders should know
To prevent infection with COVID-19, the CDC recommends frequent handwashing with soap and warm water; coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue; avoid touching mouth, nose, and eyes; and if you are sick, stay at home.
There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Rhode Island, such as the flu and the common cold. Having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19. People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were a contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 (or have traveled to country with community transmission).
Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19. Testing can only be done on individuals who have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 and who have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or travel history to a country with ongoing community spread of COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms or history of travel is not recommended by CDC.
People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should NOT go directly to a healthcare facility without calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
People with general questions about COVID-19 can call 401-222-8022.
We recommend, out of an abundance of caution, that teams forgo high fives and handshakes between themselves, opposing teams and officials during and after competitions and instead opt for elbow, forearm or fist bumps.
Please see the following additional resources and communications which may provide further answers to your questions.