Michigan Youth Soccer Association releases new guidelines in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Guidelines come as Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order

WATERFORD, Mich. – The Michigan Youth Soccer Association made it clear that they won’t do anything yet, but when Michigan does reopen they’ll be ready.

Many sporting events were cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

They titled it, “charting the path forward,” and they are specific to each phase of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reopening plan.

READ: Michigan Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order across state, reopening restaurants, more

In Michigan’s current phase, only virtual training is allowed. That is all that the Warriors Soccer Club out of Waterford is doing at the moment.

“We are having virtual tryouts,” coach and trainer Taylor Biondo said.

Once Michigan is in phase four and beyond, and training is permitted, those attending will still have to follow some rules. Parents and guardians will be asked to stay in the car or social distance with a mask on. Car pooling is meant to be at a minimum.

Coaches like Biondo would be the only ones allowed to touch the equipment.

“I would feel safe going back and coaching and helping the kids grow," Biondo said.

Player responsibilities include avoiding sharing and touching someone else’s equipment and avoiding group celebrations like high-5′s, hugs and handshakes.

READ: Here’s everything that’s reopening in Michigan now that stay-at-home order has been lifted

"It’s a bummer, but I think kids would rather do that than not play at all,” Biondo said.

Whitmer’s office had this to say about teams potentially playing in actual games:

“At this point, we are unable to provide a definite timeframe. Medical experts have made it clear that COVID-19 spreads when people are in close contact with one another, and without a vaccine, our best strategy in combating the virus is to practice social distancing. As we take a look at safely reengaging sports programs, our administration will continue to make informed decisions based upon the state’s top data and medical expertise.”

READ: Here’s a list of 27 types of businesses that are still closed in Michigan

On Tuesday, the Michigan High School Athletic Association updated its guidelines for reopening school sports based on the lifting of Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

The following updates from MHSSA:

  • Member schools may begin summer activities at school facilities as long as these two conditions are met: 1. School administration has announced schools facilities are open to students and staff, and 2. The academic school year (last day of online instruction/exams) has ended.
  • Indoor facilities, including gymnasiums and weight rooms, remain closed. This includes swimming pools, although outdoor pools may be used for athletic activities.
  • Competition is not yet allowed because participants must continue to follow social distancing.
  • Balls may be used among groups of participants, but participants should clean such common equipment as permitted and continue to maintain proper hygiene (washing hands, not touching their faces) and social distance.
  • The most accurate answer to the question “What Step are schools on?” is Step 2 for outdoor activities – thanks to the ability to have gatherings of up to 100 participants – while indoor activities will start at Step 1 if gatherings of only 10 or fewer are allowed. Guidelines will continue to be updated based on directives from Governor Whitmer’s office.

“We were excited and encouraged by Governor Whitmer’s announcements Monday. The opportunity for outside gatherings of up to 100 allowed us to rework a number of guidelines that we had published Friday as part of the MHSAA/NFHS reopening document. Our schools have been cautiously eager to take this long-awaited first step. We will continue to provide updates in accordance with the Governor’s directives for reopening the state, always prioritizing safety for all involved in school sports programs," exectutive director Mark Uyl said.

READ: Why Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer thought now was right time to reopen entire state

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