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College, HS and youth soccer in Pittsburgh area can resume operations

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC / RDA

College, HS and youth soccer in Pittsburgh area can resume operations

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

 

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.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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