Indoor soccer COVID precautions: U.S. Soccer assesses risks and provides guidelines

COVID-19 is surging across the USA, breaking records for hospitalizations and new infections, at a time of the year when cold weather in many parts of the country sends soccer indoors -- where infection danger is higher than outdoors. U.S. Soccer encourages clubs and coaches to refer to its Cold Weather Guidelines, and to stick to outdoor play if those guidelines indicate it's safe. The Federation, which in June created detailed guides for the various phases of outdoor return-to-play, last week also released an Indoor Considerations guide.

“As inclement weather may force soccer to move indoors across the country, it’s important to be aware of the additional risks that may come with playing inside,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Chiampas. “While there are more risks in an indoor environment, there’s a lot that we can do to mitigate them. Keeping in mind things like air exchange rate and the size of the facility are a few factors that can help make indoor soccer as safe as possible. It’s also important that we only play indoors when local authorities approve it as safe to do so.”

Further Reading: Q&A: Dr. George Chiampas on indoor soccer safety during the pandemic

Pandemic safety restrictions continue to vary around the nation. The fall surge -- an upward trend of cases in more than 45 states -- has already prompted changes to existing measures, including a return to lockdowns in some states, and more returns to stricter measures are expected.

If a state or county's regulations allow for indoor sports, U.S. Soccer's guide provides risk-assessment tables for facility type (above),  a similar chart on air exchange rate and continues to stress the importance of mask-wearing and hygiene.

How players arrive and depart, how they hydrate (eg: clearly label water bottles to prevent sharing), the number of participants, and the duration of training are among the factors covered in the U.S. Soccer PLAY ON Indoor Considerations for COVID-19 Guidelines.

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LINKS (to download various guidelines)
Indoor Considerations for COVID-19

Cold weather Guidelines

U.S. Soccer PLAY ON home page

U.S. Soccer PLAY ON recommendation guides

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