United States Soccer introduces ‘PLAY ON’ campaign

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(NEWS10) — Looking to get the kids back on the playing field? With low-risk sports back in action, we continue to get closer to medium and high-risk recreational and organized sports. Now, U.S. Soccer is offering a helping hand to safely play.

For many, sports are everything, and even if it means playing through a new normal, getting back on the field is the main goal. U.S. Soccer created their “PLAY ON” campaign, which is a guide of their own phases of principles and fundamentals for players, coaches, referees and parents.

In Phase One, they include individual and small group training, leading to Phase Two and Three, which is full team training and competitions. Phase Four, the last phase, is no restrictions. ​George Chiampas, U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer, spoke with NEWS10’s Ben Ryan, and says by implementing these rules at the highest level, it sets the tone for everyone else.

“What they’re going to see is what were asking of them. The same fundamentals that we are creating are taking place in the professional game; players wearing masks when they sit on the bench, celebrating in ways they haven’t before whether it be elbow to elbow or fist bumps,” Chiampas said. “It’s really important for players to see their idols and stars and understand its bigger than the game.

If anyone involved tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19, their recommendation and guidance is to redirect you to your medical professional before getting back on the field. Chiampas also said with the use of small group training and a daily checklist, coaches can isolate and track to who may have been at a higher risk and greater exposure.

According to New York State, soccer is considered a moderate to high-risk sport, so guidance can begin on July 6. Locally, Greenbush Soccer Club says they’ve been following guidelines from Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association, New York State and United States Soccer “PLAY ON.”

“What we have always offered since the virus has hit, is the option to return. We will obviously do so in a very controlled setting,” Director of Coaching at Greenbush Soccer Club, Rich Nassif, said. “We have a pretty extensive return to play policy we put together through our board.​”

Come July 6, even though the Capital Region plans on being Phase Four, soccer will be in Phase One. ​

“We will have to start at ground zero of groups of 10 training,” Nassif said. “Meaning a coach and nine players or two coaches and eight players; social distancing, no contact.”​

U.S. Soccer has a “PLAY ON” pledge where you can stay informed with their phases and what it means to stay safe while playing.

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