On Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf announced that amateur sports, including college, high school and youth soccer, can resume play with modifications in Pennsylvania counties in the yellow and green phases of the plan to reopen the commonwealth from COVID-19 restrictions.
“All collegiate sports sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), as well as intramural and club sports, may resume in-person activities in counties designated in the Yellow and Green phases, in alignment with the PA Department of Education (PDE) Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Post Secondary Higher Education Institutions and Adult Basic Education Providers, guidance issued by DOH, the CDC, NCAA, and the team’s relevant collegiate athletic conference,” Wolf said in a statement.
Governor Wolf also included in the statement that professional sports can resume immediately. Teams or leagues in the yellow phase, or if more than 250 people are on site in the green phase, must have a COVID-19 safety plan approved by the Department of Health.
Restrictions on all sports include monitoring athletes for symptoms, having an action plan if a player, coach or official is infected, maintaining social distancing whenever possible, reducing activities that increase the risk of exposure such as chewing gum, spitting, shaking hands, and sharing equipment.
The announcement also included that recreational and other amateur sports can resume in counties designated as green. This includes the numerous soccer clubs in our region which have been trying to maintain certain training standards while following Pennsylvania’s guidelines.
Morning, Noon, or Night, we are safely back into RDA training! With daily sessions scheduled all day and night at @highmarkstadium our players are getting touches and getting fit again, in a proper work environment! pic.twitter.com/i1UGSessag
— The Riverhounds Academy (@HoundsAcademy) June 8, 2020
— Hotspurs Soccer Club (@HotspursClub) June 10, 2020
College teams in the green phase of reopening, which includes all of the Greater Pittsburgh area, can otherwise resume regular operation, as long as gatherings do not exceed 250 people or 50% of their facility’s capacity. All attendees other than players and staff must adhere to social distancing practices.
The University of Pittsburgh announced earlier in the week, that they’re planning to be open in the Fall.
I know everyone wants to know what the fall will look like and we’ve made some progress and decisions, which you can read about here: https://t.co/ltnlYhSlGe
Thank you for your patience, enthusiasm and ideas as we continue advancing Pitt’s mission during these unordinary times.
— Patrick Gallagher (@PittChancellor) June 9, 2020
High school and other school-sponsored sports can resume, also with the 250-person maximum and 50% of capacity restrictions, but can be played with student athletes, coaches, officials and staff only.
Following the Governor’s announcement, the PIAA issued the following statement:
— PIAA (@PIAASports) June 10, 2020
Further, here are some additional guidelines players and coaches will have to be follow in accordance with PA Department of Education (PDE) Preliminary Guidance steps shared today.
— Joel D. Smith (@JoelDReports) June 10, 2020
High Schools still have a lot of work to do, and it won’t be as simple as getting right back out there with off season programs.
Our Post-Gazette high school staff has talked to numerous ADs today. True, high school teams in Pa. are allowed to state workouts immediately. But most teams don't expect to start for at least another week or so because their school must approve a "return to sports" plan first.
— Mike White (@mwhiteburgh) June 10, 2020
So, bottom line is stay tuned in the coming weeks and month to see how everything plays out as everyone looks to get back into some sense of normalcy again on soccer fields throughout Western Pennsylvania.