Olympic Development Program News

UPDATE (MAY 29): NHSA Return-to-Play Protocol

Introduction

The New Hampshire Soccer Association Return to Play Protocol is meant as a guide to return to the game of soccer in a safe and responsible manner, taking as many precautions as possible to limit and reduce the risk of infection of the Corona Virus. Following the Covid-19 Reopening Guidance published under Stay at Home 2.0 from the office of Governor Sununu, we have outlined this soccer-specific plan to guide our organizations as we return to play.

The information in this document is NOT intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content and information is provided for general informational purposes only. The knowledge and circumstances around COVID-19 are changing constantly and, as such, the New Hampshire Soccer Association makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the completeness of this information. Further, you should seek advice from medical professionals and/or public health officials in your area if you have specific questions. These guidelines address only early phases of return-to-play and additional guidelines may, or may not, follow as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.

Phases

The Guidelines set forth in the Stay at Home 2.0 Universal Guidelines establish a measured, gradual, game plan to return to normalcy.  There are phases and stringent gating criteria that must be achieved before a State, a Region or, in this case, the New Hampshire Soccer Association can move from one phase to the next. Governor Sununu has extended the Stay at Home Order allowing some businesses to open while strongly recommending that the policies and procedures outlined by the order is followed.  Although we can’t say with certainty when we can begin the next phase of this  Return To Play Protocol, we feel it is important to know what it will look like and what we will need to do to prepare. By working together alongside our Federal, State and local governments, we can greatly reduce the time it takes to get back on the pitch.

 

Phase One (current phase)

  • Individual training sessions can be held in participant home/residence using his or her own equipment.
  • Coaching occurs virtually. No coaches or athletes outside of the residence should be present during training.

 

Phase Two

Phase Two begins the gradual re-opening of many activities, but is, once again, limited by the ability to maintain control over the particular environment.  We are all reminded that by returning to work or another activity, individuals could carry the virus back home to vulnerable individuals. Phase two calls for maximizing social distancing when in public and for avoiding groups of 10 or more in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.  NHSA is interpreting Phase Two as permitting extremely limited activities so long as all possible measures are taken.

 

Activities permitted in Phase Two

  • Practice/training sessions of single teams on each field. And no more than 10 players/coaches present on adjoining fields.
  • Tryouts consisting of no more than 10 players/coaches present on adjoining fields.

 

Activities NOT permitted in Phase Two

These shall not be permitted because enforcing adherence to health safety protocols and guidelines is impossible.

  • Games, scrimmages or friendlies.
  • Tournaments or jamborees.

 

Limitations on Phase One Activities

Club Responsibilities

  • Before a Club may begin to return to play, it must publish a notice to all players, parents and soccer families outlining the risks of returning and detailing how the Club intends to minimize or eradicate those risks.
  • All return to play activities should be published as being voluntary. Clubs should be sensitive and accommodating to parents and players who may be uncomfortable with returning to play at this time.
  • Clubs must provide hand sanitizer and/or washing stations and waste receptacles near each bench area.
  • Clubs should organize “stations” for each player at or around the bench area observing social distance guidelines, which players can keep of their belongings. Players are encouraged to keep their water, snacks and equipment within their “station” and avoid touching someone else’s belongings.
  • Before any and all activity (e.g. practice, tryout session, etc…) each individual and/or parent of individual should answer these questions
    • Have you been in contact with a person with COVID 19?
    • Have you had a cough, above normal temperature, or loss of taste or smell?

If anyone answers YES to any of these questions, they shall not be permitted to participate.

  • Maintain participant confidentiality regarding health status.

 Coach Responsibilities

  • Activities should be limited in size (e.g. 3 v. 3 or 4 v. 4) so as to avoid large groups competing in a small space.
  • It is highly recommended that activities last no more than one (1) hour. Fatigue brought on by physical activity renders an individual more vulnerable to the virus. Excessive activities, especially in the heat of the summer, should be avoided.
  • Coaches alone shall be permitted to touch training equipment (discs, cones, etc.)
  • If training bibs or pinnies are needed, players must bring their own colored shirts. For example, a coach should require each player to bring or wear a dark and a light t-shirt to play. If for any reason a training bib or pinnie is used by a player, it must be immediately isolated (put into a separate laundry bag) and not used again by any other individual unless and until it is laundered.
  • Physical contact outside the game must be strictly avoided.
  • Players must use their own soccer ball. There will be no throw-ins and no activity will include picking up a ball with your hands. Players will be discouraged from handling any soccer ball other than their own.

Player Responsibilities

  • Players should wear masks prior to and immediately after training (if suggested under state/local authorities).
  • Players should observe social distancing when not in play.
  • Players shall be required to wash or sanitize their hands prior to and after training
  • Players must wash their clothes immediately up returning home.
  • Players must NOT share drinks, food, equipment or clothing at any time.
  • Contact outside of play (e.g. high 5s, hugs, etc.) shall be avoided at all times.

Parents

  • Parents should have hand sanitizer available for their children before and after each session.
  • Parent shall remain in their cars during all activities. They may not congregate at or around the field. If they leave their car for any reason (e.g. to use a restroom) they must wear a face mask and observe social distancing if suggested under local/state guidelines.
  • Should parents feel the need to communicate with a coach, it must be done via telecommunications or email.
  • Parents should check player’s temperature before every activity. If the temperature is above normal, keep player home.
  • Ensure your child’s clothes/equipment are clean and/or sanitized before every activity.
  • Notify your club if your child becomes ill for any reason.

 

Phase Three
Only after the Gateway Criteria are met in Phase Two, Phase Three will commence. Again, entering Phase Three is not accomplished by throwing a switch. It must be done responsibly given the nature of the soccer environment. The protocols set forth in Phase Two and before such as social distancing must not simply be abandoned.

Activities permitted in Phase Three

  • Practices of single teams on each field.
  • Games, friendlies and scrimmages can be played.
  • Tryouts can take place.

Activities NOT permitted in Phase Three

  • Tournaments or jamborees.
  • Travel to tournaments outside New Hampshire shall be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Tournaments pose a high risk because there is virtually no way to maintain control over protocol such as social distancing by and between players and supporters or spectators, and in many cases teams travel from outside New Hampshire. The tournament environment is essentially a petri dish in which the virus can flourish.

State of New Hampshire: Stay at Home 2.0 – Amateur & Youth Sports Guidelines

Governor's Economic REOPENING TASK FORCE:
COVID-19 Reopening Guidance

The Govenor’s Economic Reopening Task Force has sent the New Hampshire Soccer Association the following guidance for getting their players back on the soccer field.  Please review the attached guidance and be up-to-date the NHSA’s Return-to-Play Protocols.

NHSA Return to Play Protocol

USYS Honors 2020 Graduating Seniors

Membership Updates: COVID-19 | April 14, 2020

To: All members and affiliates

From: Rusty Wightman, President

CC: Board of Directors and Staff

RE: Membership Update

I hope this message finds you well and you are able to find solace with family and friends.  Our gratitude goes out to you all for your cooperation and understanding during these uncertain and trying times. Only by working together, following the guidelines set by local, state and national leaders, can we stop the spread and give our essential workers the rest they deserve and our players, coaches, fans, and referees the game they are longing for. Please know, as it relates to the game of soccer, the executive board and staff at New Hampshire Soccer has been, and will continue to, monitor and evaluate the situation on a constant basis.

At a  board meeting on Monday, April 13, a vote was held and a decision made to further suspend all affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities statewide through May 31, 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. For our member organizations (towns, clubs and leagues) this includes, but is not limited to: all games, practices, clinics, training, tournaments, and in-person meetings. It is imperative that we all follow recommendations and mandates from the CDC, local and federal officials, USYS and US Soccer to help stop the spread the Corona Virus. New Hampshire Soccer will evaluate conditions on a continuing basis to determine when it is appropriate to reinstate our affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities. Further communications will be provided via email and on our website.

We realize this impacts many programs throughout the state. We continue to update our contingency plans as it relates to The New Hampshire Soccer League, The ODP program, our coaching education courses, referee recertification and grassroots courses, and all other programs and events scheduled. We know there are a lot of questions, we are working through the problems as they arise and trying to adjust and make the best of a situation that is constantly changing.

“You face adversity all the time. I accept what lies ahead and then I do my best. You can’t take things too seriously, and you can’t use things as an excuse or you’ll never get through.”

~Kristine Lilly

Thanks for all you do,

Rusty Wightman

President

New Hampshire Soccer Association

Membership Updates: COVID-19 | March 24, 2020

To: All members and affiliates

From: Rusty Wightman, President

CC: Board of Directors and Staff

RE: Membership Update

I hope all are getting through these uncertain times knowing that we WILL be out on the pitch again and we WILL beat this virus, TOGETHER .

In times like this I find it enlightening and invigorating witnessing people working together, for the common good of all. It is too easy to get caught up in the negative impact on our daily lives, but everywhere around us is love and compassion, giving and sharing, and the sense that when this is over we will be stronger. I know you all join me in lifting up all those that put themselves in harms way to serve those in need. In times of war we lift up our military soldiers, but we now have a different type of soldier serving us today. Our gratitude goes out to all nurses, doctors and medical staff. All the police, fire and emergency workers, the groceries, markets and gas stations that provide essential food, goods and some sense of “normal in our daily lives. Countless others, too many to mention. New Hampshire Soccer thanks you all for your sacrifice to help us through this challenging times.

I also need to thank my colleagues through out US Soccer, US Youth Soccer, US Adult Soccer and most of all the board and staff at NHSA. With the news and information changing by the second, we have all dedicated our time to making the best informed decisions possible as it relates to our beautiful game, while dealing with our own personal lives and issues.

At a special Executive Board meeting on Monday March 23, we decided to further suspend all affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities statewide through April 26, 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. For our member organizations (towns, clubs and leagues) this includes, but is not limited to: all games, practices, clinics, training, tournaments, and in-person meetings. It is imperative that we all follow recommendations and mandates from the CDC, local and federal officials, USYS and US Soccer to help stop the spread the Corona Virus. New Hampshire Soccer will evaluate conditions on a continuing basis to determine when it is appropriate to reinstate our affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities. Further communications will be provided via email and on our website. We will also be postponing the New Hampshire Day at the Revs event scheduled for June 6 until such time that a schedule can be redefined by the MLS. Then we will determine the safest time to bring us all together, when this is over we will have a reason to celebrate and you can be sure we will go all out on this one!

We realize this impacts many programs through out the state. We are currently working on contingency plans as it relates to The New Hampshire Soccer League, The ODP program, our coaching education courses, referee recertification and grass roots courses, and all other programs and events scheduled. We know there are a lot of questions, we are working through the problems as they arise and trying to adjust and make the best of a situation that is constantly changing.

Thanks for all you do,

Rusty Wightman

President

New Hampshire Soccer Association

soccernh.org

Virtual Laws of the Game Learning Opportunity for Coaches

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REFEREE COMMITTEE

The New Hampshire State Referee is offering virtual “in-person” classes online through Zoom at designated dates and times. While these were designed for referee recertification, they focus solely on the significant changes to the laws of the game for this year. With the cancellation of in-person classes we want to invite coaches to attend as well so everyone is the New Hampshire soccer community has an opportunity to receive the same information. This will offer you an opportunity to still see the presentation, hear explanations for the law changes, and interact with an instructor to answer any questions you may have. Virtual sessions will be offered on the following dates and times:

  • Monday March 30 @ 7PM
  • Sunday April 5 @ 8AM
  • Tuesday April 14 @ 7PM
  • Saturday April 18 @ 8AM

To sign up for one of these sessions, please complete this form:

We appreciation your flexibility, understanding and patience as we manage this situation to find solutions that work for both US Soccer requirements, the good of the game, and the health and safety of all involved. In dealing with this situation, we strongly recommend that you follow the advice, direction and guidance of your local health department. For more information on the current status across the country and measures you can take, go to:

Regards,

New Hampshire State Referee Committee

Referee@nhreferee.org

NHSA Statement to Membership – Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

To: All members and affiliates

From: Rusty Wightman, President

CC: Board of directors and staff

RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATE: March 13, 2020 | 10:45 PM

Effective immediately, New Hampshire Soccer Association is suspending all affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities statewide through April 12, 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 situation.   For our member organizations (towns, clubs and leagues) this includes, but is not limited to: all games, practices, clinics, training, tournaments, and in-person meetings.

Trusting that players, coaches, referees and spectators would never knowingly compromise themselves or others, the fact is that our sport and its related activities provide an opportunity for the virus to spread which we feel is our duty to help avoid (excerpt from the CDC below):

  “…COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets (sneeze, cough, or sweat) when in close contact (within 6 feet) OR by touching a surface with such droplets and then touching one’s own mouth, nose or eyes…”

As a result, both US Soccer and US Youth Soccer have made a similar decision regarding soccer activities under their purview.  They asked the state associations to assess the risks and benefits of postponement, suspension and/or cancellation of upcoming events and New Hampshire Soccer – along with many other state associations – has taken this guidance, as well as information from public health and medical professionals at the federal, state and local levels with the highest level of concern.  Our decision to suspend soccer-related activities and promote social distancing was not made lightly.  But, in the interest of making the health and safety of the entire soccer community, in addition to all others statewide, paramount, we know this is the right step to take.  

New Hampshire Soccer will evaluate conditions on a continuing basis to determine when it is appropriate to reinstate our affiliated and sanctioned soccer activities.  Further communications will be provided via email and on our website.  

US Soccer has suspended all Coaching Education Courses and Referee Courses until after April 30th. We are currently trying to work on a solution to offer a portion of these courses on line. Look for communications from our Director of Coaching and State Referee Administrator.

Additionally, here are a number of different resources and communications from the CDC and other organizations regarding the Coronavirus:  

We cannot emphasize enough that New Hampshire Soccer’s primary commitment at all times is the health and safety of all members, players, coaches, referees, parents, spectators and volunteers.

Proper Health Habits:

In the meantime, while we all help protect ourselves is it important to reinforce health safety and best practices for illness prevention, please read the list below:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth prior to proper washing or disinfecting.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including Coronavirus.
  • CDC recommended face masks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Thank you for your understanding.

-New Hampshire Soccer Association

NEW HAMPSHIRE SOCCER NEWS RELEASE: COVID-19

To:  All members and affiliates

From:  Rusty Wightman, President

CC:  Board of Directors and Staff

RE: Coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) Advisory Memo

As new developments arise each day, I want to insure all understand that first and foremost, the safety of our players, coaches, referees and fans is our primary responsibility. The NHSA and US Soccer are monitoring the situation and seeking advice and recommendations from all resources available including local, state and federal agencies.

Based on the current information and facts, it is recommended that everyone be familiar with the best practices and protocols set forth by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Several events across the country have been canceled or postponed, however we feel at this time, all soccer in the granite state can go on as scheduled. With that said, please be respectful of individual or organizational decisions. Please be mindful of the facilities and venues we play in, especially schools and decisions they need to make regarding usage. If you are traveling out of state, please be aware of the situation at your destination and follow traveling recommendations ( CDC link below)

US Soccer has put forth the following information:

Best Practices for Health
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the Coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. Everyday preventive actions should be taken:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including Coronavirus.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Additionally, here are a number of different resources and communications from the CDC regarding the Coronavirus:

If the NHSA can assist or help guide your organization through this period, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and support, together we will get through this !

Sincerely,

Rusty Wightman

President, New Hampshire Soccer Association

New Hampshire Soccer Association renews GotSoccer partnership for another 5 years

New Hampshire Soccer Association renews GotSoccer partnership for another 5 years


New Hampshire Soccer Association has strengthened their relationship with GotSoccer, signing a new five year contract and moving the registration and State Cup tournament to the GotSport platform.

“NHSA has had a great partnership with GotSoccer for 10 years,” said State Administrator Ann Fichera.  “Over those years we have been so happy with the progress GotSoccer has made to continue investing in their software, provide support, education and overall changes that are needed.”We are excited to be moving forward with our partnership with GotSoccer and be able to offer our Member clubs and facilities the opportunity  to use the new GotSport program,” Fichera added. 

An excited GotSoccer CEO Gavin Owen-Thomas was delighted with the contract  renewal. “Since we launched GotSoccer we’ve had an amazing 98% client retention rate and for NHSA to put their trust in us for 5 more years makes me very proud.

“This agreement furthers our goal to partner with all state soccer associations in providing the best and most advanced analytics and sports management system on the market to benefit all players.”NHSA members will have the benefit of GotSport’s:Simplified tools to manage all their roles and duties from within a single accountMobile responsive system to easily perform all their tasks whenever, wherever Simple and secure paymentsand so much more!For more information CLICK HERE.

To arrange a demonstration contact Dave Buchanan, GotSport’s head of state management software at (203) 752-7324. 

Since 2003, GotSoccer has an amazing 98% Client Retention Rate.
29 USYS State Associations now utilize Gotsport’s registration platform, and 36 use GotSoccer for their State Cup!