On Friday, the WPIAL announced that the fall sports season will now have a delayed start, with most sports, including soccer, moving to mid-September from the original start date of August 28.
Soccer teams will not be permitted to play games now until September 14.
One thing that hasn’t changed, is that Fall sports are allowed to start full practices on August 17.
The WPIAL board met twice this past week, including Thursday for two hours in executive session before agreeing on a direction for the league. The board moved things back for a number of reasons, but mainly to provide individual districts with a chance to better implement their health and safety plans.
The WPIAL also reduced the maximum number of regular-season contests for each sport.
Boys and Girls Soccer schedules must now be reduced to 16 regular season games. After starting training sessions on August 17, soccer teams will be allowed to scrimmage opponents as soon as August 29. There has been no additional news about the WPIAL soccer championships format or schedule. The Championship games were originally scheduled for Highmark Stadium for October 29-31.
This announcement from the WPIAL follows PIAA’s announcements this week with its plan to continue to move forward with Fall sports, but following strict COVID-19 guidelines that include banning spectators from contests
The PIAA released a 25-page, return-to-competition guidelines, which includes game-day advice for social distancing, health screenings, sanitation and other topics.
The information was tailored for teams, coaches and officials — and outlined sport specific information.
Many of the guidelines were similar to health and safety plans already in place at individual schools. Athletes aren’t required to wear face coverings while competing but must during periods of inactivity. Handshakes are nixed. Athletes shouldn’t share uniforms, towels or other equipment.
But the PIAA also provided protocols for when a team has a covid-19 case among its players or coaches.
That team must shut down for 14 days, Lombardi said, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols. The school must inform teams it previously played, in accordance with CDC guidelines, and notify its next opponent “in a reasonable time frame.”
Missed regular-season games can be recorded as “no contest” rather than forfeits, if the schools and PIAA district committee agree.
SOCCER SPECIFIC RULES CONSIDERATIONS (PIAA 2020)
- Limit attendees to head referee or center referee, the head coach from each team,
and a single captain from each team.
- Move the location of the pregame conference to center of the field.
- All individuals should maintain a social distance of 6 feet.
- No handshakes prior to and following the Pregame Conference.
- Encourage social distancing of 6 feet.
- When possible, additional game balls may be placed around the outside of the field to limit contact with the ball.
- Ball holders are encouraged to use their feet or wear gloves to return balls to designated areas or field players.
- Encourage bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet.
- Team areas may be expanded to promote social distancing.
Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between the substitute, officials and/or teammate(s) by encouraging substitutions to occur closer to the center line.
- Limit to essential personnel who includes home team scorer and timer with a recommend distance of 6 feet between individuals.
- Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an
PREGAME, HALF-TIME AND POST MATCH CEREMONY:
- No pregame world cup introduction line pre-half team huddles on the field. Send players to
their field positions with bench personnel lined up on the touch line (6 feet apart) for
- Water bottles are discouraged on the field of play and should be used off the playing surface.
- Goalkeepers are encouraged keep a water bottle behind the net for the purpose of wetting
their gloves rather than spitting.
- Coaches are encouraged to hold pre-game, half-time and post-game meetings socially distant
and off the playing surface, where possible.
- No post game shaking hands.
SOCCER RULES INTERPRETATIONS:
EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORIES:
- Cloth face coverings are permitted.
- Gloves are permitted.
- Long sleeves are permitted.
- Long pants are permitted.
- Under garments are permitted but must be of a similar length for the individual and a solid like color for team.
OFFICIALS UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT:
- Long-sleeved shirt/jackets are permitted.
- Electronic whistles are permitted.
- Face coverings are permitted.
- Gloves are permitted.
CONSIDERATION FOR SOCCER OFFICIALS:
- Please review the General Considerations for Officials.
- Officials may use electronic whistles during contests but must be aware of increased risk of inadvertent whistles.
- Social distancing guidelines should be employed during the contest for officials when interacting with coaches and student-athletes (ex. penalties or carding).