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Return to Play Update

By Bryan O'Donnell, 08/02/20, 6:45PM PDT

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Find out more on our Return to Play Plan

NYSA Families, Coaches, and Players;

We want to start by thanking our local community for your continued support of the Northshore Youth Soccer Association.  At this time we have over 3,000 players registered for Recreational, Select, and Premier soccer with NYSA.  As this number continues to grow every day, we wanted to take a second to update everyone on our Return to Play plan. 

As we look to Return to Play, NYSA stands by their commitment to not rush to the fields so that we can be the first to play. Our goal is to head to the fields when we have the best plan that puts our coaches, players, and their families health first.  As an association we understand the importance of youth sports, especially soccer, in the lives of our local players.  The feeling when you get to play outside with a strong support group of friends, role models, and parent groups, provides players with natural mood boosters that can help fight stress, while building self-esteem, self-respect, and teamwork.  NYSA soccer programs provide all these benefits in a safe, supportive, and fun atmosphere!

In preparation for the upcoming season, our office staff, coaching directors, and key volunteers have been hard at work taking care of all the behind the scenes tasks.  We are actively working to place players on rosters, while also taking in more registrations and placing players on teams where we have spots available.  Our coaching directors are putting together lesson plans to ensure the transition back is smooth and easy for all involved.  In addition, they are working on putting together coaches training sessions so that everyone is prepared and knows who to contact if they need a little assistance.  Finally, all of our staff and Board Members are working with our national and state affiliates (United States Youth Soccer Association and WA Youth Soccer Association), advisors from the medical community, as well as, our local and state governments to develop guidelines for our Return to Play, and to ensure we are in compliance with all regulations.

To achieve our goal of a safe return to the soccer field, there are a few factors that can impact our plans and provide for some possible changes to the 2020 Fall Soccer Season.  NYSA, like almost all other soccer associations, relies on several local municipalities for our game and practice fields.  Currently, we have access to fields from both King (Big Finn Hill Park and 60 Acres) and Snohomish Counties (Forsgren) and Sound FC is able to utilize fields in Lynnwood (Meadowdale Playfields) and Mountlake Terrace (Evergreen 6 and Ballinger Playfield.  The access to these fields has allowed both our Select and Premier programs to begin modified and social distanced training sessions.  The largest providers of fields for NYSA are the City of Woodinville (Woodinville Sports Fields), the City of Bothell (North Creek Fields, Cedar Grove, and Doug Allen), Edmonds School District, and Northshore School District and they are all on different timetables for when the fields will be available to rent.  The City of Bothell is looking at field availability when Phase 3 hits, Woodinville Sports Fields is undergoing turf replacement, and Northshore School District has let us know they will evaluate their plans for field rentals and let us know sometime in early August.

The other major factor that impacts our ability to Return to Play is the phased approach to the Safe Start Washington Reopening Plan as laid out by Governor Jay Inslee.  NYSA, and Washington Youth Soccer, are fully committed to following the official phased approach to reopening businesses in Washington State, including following all modified physical/social distancing.  This means that our Select and Premier teams can take the field for highly restricted technical training sessions in Phase 2, our Recreational teams will be able to Return to Play in Phase 3 as long as fields are made available by our community partners and Phase 3 allows a gathering of 50 people.

Below are some program specific dates and/or Phases of the Safe Start Plan:

RECREATIONAL SOCCER:  We remain hopeful that the Recreational soccer program will begin with practices in mid-August and games starting after Labor Day weekend.  This is dependent on us being in Phase 3 and fields being available for teams to use.  If one, or both of these do not happen, we will look to push the season back to either a late August or early September start date.  We do not anticipate that a later start date will impact the number of games your soccer player will play, but this may require a later end to the season or the requirement to play double header weekend games (one Saturday and one Sunday) and/or a weeknight game.  If it becomes evident that we will not be able to have a fall recreational season, we will allow parents to request a full refund (minus any credit card fees) or or the ability to apply part or all of their registration fee as a tax deductible donation to NYSA.

SELECT SOCCER:  In mid-July, our Select program, Northshore Select Club (NSC), was able to return to the field for training while observing physical/social distancing.  These highly technical training sessions take place in groups of 5 or less and ensure that players are not waiting in lines and not having physical contact with others.  Training sessions will be able to move into larger groups as the State of Washington allows King and Snohomish Counties to advance to Phase 3.  The ability to play in summer tournaments and games will be dictated by both tournament providers and the league that NSC participates in – North Puget Sound League (NPSL).  NPSL has teams throughout Western Washington, which means the different counties will need to be in Phase 3 to host games.  We are unsure what this will mean for the schedule and will look to the NPSL leadership for direction on how this will be handled.  If it becomes evident that we will not be able to provide our select players a season of soccer, we will allow parents to request a refund (minus club expenses incurred up to the point of cancellation – fields, banking transaction fees, etc) or the ability to apply part or all of their registration fee as a tax deductible donation to NYSA.

PREMIER SOCCER:  In mid June, our Premier program, Sound FC, was able to return to the field and helped us establish the protocols that NSC would also follow upon their return.  At the state moves to Phase 3, Premier will move to full team training sessions that will allow them to take the technical sessions they have provided our players to technical and tactical sessions.  Sound FC is also watching local tournaments to see if summer tournaments will take place.  Our Director of Soccer Operations, Jason Farrell, serves a member of the RCS and will keep parents updated on the season operations.  The premier league is a statewide league that will need to take into account the various counties and how they move into Phase 3 and 4 while they work on the season schedule.  While everyone involved is working hard and planning for a successful 2020-2021 season, if it becomes evident that we will not be able to provide our premier players a season of soccer, we will allow parents to request a refund (minus club expenses incurred up to the point of cancellation – fields, coaches, banking transaction fees, etc.) or the ability to apply part or all of their registration fee as a tax deductible donation to NYSA.

For more information on our Return to Play plans through the various phases please head over to our website at www.northshoresoccer.org/return-to-play.  Here you will find information on roles we all play to keep the game safe and the kids on the field.  The best practices we are utilizing are intended to offer safety protocols to our local soccer community. Northshore Youth Soccer Association makes no representations and assumes no responsibility for individual activity or participation decisions by Clubs, Coaches, Parents, or Players. Adherence to these considerations and recommendations does not ensure immunity from exposure.  Players and their families who feel unsure about returning to play should take the time to make the best decision for themselves.  Players who choose not to attend practices due to concerns over Covid-19 will not be penalized when they feel it is safe to return.

Again, thank you for your support of NYSA and we hope to see everyone back on the field soon.  In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.

Bryan O’Donnell
President - Northshore Youth Soccer Association