Dear Colorado Soccer Association Member Clubs,
It has always been CSA’s intention to support and assist our clubs and the community youth who rely on those club services to play soccer every season. I believe we have all made every effort to support getting youth soccer players back on the fields this spring season. Unfortunately, the devastating effects of this pandemic have proven too much. As such, upon the recommendation of the Colorado Soccer Association Advisory Council, the Colorado Soccer Association Board of Directors has decided to cancel all spring CSA sanctioned leagues.
Three main factors were the driving force behind this decision:
Safety – Safety has been a primary concern from day one. While much is still unknown about the effects of the highly contagious virus, it is clear Colorado will be feeling repercussions of the outbreak for months to come. CSA will continue to monitor our operations with the health and safety of the people in mind.
Lack of Fields – To help control the spread of the virus, many Colorado parks have closed, some indefinitely. This has resulted in many local municipalities feeling the same financial burden as our clubs. The layoffs of those that maintain our local parks and fields have been prevalent and CSA members’ limitations to access are extensive. Our surveys indicate most municipalities will not be opening until June or later, and even at that time we may face restrictions as a condition to the return to the fields.
Family Decision – Lastly, CSA feels it is important to allow each family the room to decide when it is safe for their children to return to play; we do not want rush anyone’s decision. Therefore, eliminating the pressure of spring leagues in the coming months will allow families to emerge at their own pace when they feel safe.
Unfortunately, COVID’s economic impact to youth sports will extend longer than other sectors of our economy. Many non-profit organizations do not carry financial reserves to weather this crisis nor do they have access to significant capital from banks. According to The Wall Street Journal, 20%-40% of youth sport organizations will dissolve due to the health crisis surrounding COVID-19, with many organizations expected to see income cut by 50% or more. In order to continue to provide a positive soccer environment in Colorado, CSA stands by our recommendation for Colorado Soccer clubs to be creative with financial remedies to retain players to the sport and remain solvent. CSA asks for your assistance in helping the clubs by working with the clubs and not seeking refunds.
Here are a few guidelines to help us all navigate through the next couple of months:
As a State, we need to prepare ourselves, our clubs, and our families for a soccer future in Colorado that may look very different. Beginning that planning process now would benefit all clubs by giving each club the opportunity to prepare for internal programming during this cancelled season and to focus on planning for the fall season and beyond.
A consultation with our insurance agency informed CSA of the importance for all clubs to follow specific guidelines to ensure coverage for all registered players, coaches and other registered parties. For the insurance to remain effective, all activities must be sanctioned by CSA. Sanctioned activities will only include those that follow state and local restrictions and guidelines, including specifically the CDC and Department of Health guidelines. Currently, those guidelines include: no gatherings larger than 10 people, social distancing of 6 feet (recommend a larger distance), and masks and hand sanitizer for each session. Please also think of additional general practices each club should adopt to take extra precautions. Examples include that clubs should require parents to stay in their cars, and not allow them field access during training or during sanitization of equipment before and after each session and ‘high fives’ and other unnecessary contact be kept at a minimum.
Although Colorado leagues have been cancelled, Sanctioned tournaments will remain on the calendar for this summer. However, clubs will be obligated to ensure that their tournament complies with all state and local guidelines and restrictions. CSA will remove sanctioning from any tournament that cannot operate in compliance with the appropriate guidelines.
Colorado Soccer sanctioned club tryouts will run from June 22nd through June 26th. More information on when rosters and fees are due will be sent out soon. All CSA rules and policies will still apply to the new established dates.
CSA recommends clubs to be innovative in their opportunities to keep kids engaged with soccer. This includes returning to the fields, small side games, at-home training suggestions and other activities, if and when local regulations allow each club to do so.
Repercussions for returning to the fields before local regulations allow, etc… It is vitally important to understand that all clubs that operate outside of the established guidelines will be subject to no insurance coverage and potential disciplinary action by Colorado Soccer Association.
Colorado Soccer Association recognizes this health crisis is challenging everyone differently and we are here to help should you need it during these times. We thank all our member clubs for their support, of the effort and each other over these last six weeks. We remain committed to honoring our mission of education, service, honor, infrastructure, sportsmanship, and safety. We look forward to supporting a strong and thriving soccer culture this fall season and beyond.
CEO, Colorado Soccer Association