Return to Play FAQs
Updated October 6, 2020
RETURN TO PLAY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Phase 2 Return to Play
Is Surrey United in Phase 2 now?
Yes, effective September 8, 2020, SUSC is in Phase 2 for the majority of its programming.
Will games be permitted in Phase 2?
Limited player contact is permitted through involuntary contact and only within a player “cohort” further explained elsewhere after September 7th and provided all City of Surrey requirements have been met. Members must await formal approval from the Club before including any Phase 2 activities in their sessions.
What is a “Soccer Cohort”
It is understood that if four (4) teams is used, the number of individuals within the cohort may go above the 50 limit (for example, four teams with rosters of 18 players) BUT it must be kept to four teams.
Coaches may be counted outside of the 50 individuals if they are able to maintain physical distancing at all times (parents as well).
Each cohort can be comprised of multiple teams in order to form a mini league/game play between teams within the cohort.
Cohorts should be made up of individuals/teams of similar age and ability.
Keep players together in designated groups and make sure that each group avoids mixing with other groups as much as possible.
If cohort participants (or teams) need to be adjusted, a 2-week break between activities is required.
Players may not belong to more than one cohort (no permit players)
Can a cohort exceed the 50 person gathering limits requirement?
I don’t understand the 50 people/4 team cohort’s idea. My adult team often has 22-23 players. How is that going to work?
The intent is to limit interaction to a smaller group while also being able to support soccer activity. For adult soccer and older teenage groups there are more players on a rosters, which is why it is understood that if four (4) teams is used, the number of individuals within the cohort may go above the 50 limit (for example, four teams with rosters of 18 players) BUT it must be kept to four teams.
Can cohorts be shuffled?
Youth Soccer Activity: within the Youth District Geographical boundaries and/or neighbouring Youth District Geographical boundaries.
Adult Soccer Activity: within the Adult League Member.
In Phase 2, are parents permitted to watch SUSC sessions?
As recommended by BC Soccer and the City of Surrey we ask that only one parent/guardian per player attend any session or game. All Return to Play Plan protocols are still in full force and effect in Phase 2. Social distancing, field maps, pick up and drop off, hand sanitizer and water bottles are all required to be followed. Use the Checklists to ensure you are following the requirements at all times.
Will we be able to play teams from other Clubs?
Do coaches and managers need to continue with social distancing requirements during games?
Work to limit close contact as much as possible.
Do not let players handle the equipment.
Coaches must take charge of set up and collecting equipment at all sessions/games.
Goalkeepers must not share gloves.
Will the locker rooms and clubhouses be open for use in Phase 2?
No, these facilities will remain closed as in Phase 1 to limit all social gathering. Athletes will still need to arrive at the field fully dressed for all sessions (including cleats).
How do players participating in out-of-club programming, such as with an academy, affect my team’s cohort?
All members and Affiliated Clubs must follow “BC Soccer’s Return to Play Phase 2 Plan – Recommendations and Guidelines” and BC Soccer understands this will impact players that participate in programing offered by more than one member/affiliated club such as supplemental training.
Participants must keep to the one cohort that they choose/sign up to be part of.
If supplemental training occurs outside of the cohort, this must be done under Phase 1 Return to Play Term (distance training/no contact guidelines) in order to ensure the participant/player is not in two cohorts.
I don’t understand the spitting and nose clearing requirement? Will the referees have to manage this?
Spitting and nose clearing that occasionally occurs in soccer is not a pleasant part of our sport, even under normal circumstances. The intent is to educate players and participants to not engage in these actions because, with the current situation, they are even more unwanted.
Based on guidance from Canada Soccer, referees are only able to address spitting when directed at someone, not when spitting or nose clearing occurs when not directed at someone. Therefore, the expectation is player and coaches will respect each other to not engage in these actions and that coaches will substitute their players who do.
We understand that this raises concerns with gamesmanship; however, BC Soccer is hopeful that our soccer community will work together under these terms so we can all enjoy soccer under the circumstances.
Can coaches, coach more than one team?
The intent is to limit contact as much as possible. However, coaches can coach more than one team and in doing so must ensure distancing as best as possible.
What are the guidelines for physiotherapists/trainers and their ability to treat multiple teams/players?
Per Via Sport – Certificated physios and trainers must adhere to higher standards based on their professional designation. In most cases they are required to wear masks when interacting with patients, therefore, they would count towards the people within the gathering size but can interact with multiple individuals without a large risk.
Why does soccer have to have cohorts when players are going back to school and playing other sports?
BC Soccer is working within the requirements/restrictions that Via Sport and the BC health authorities are allowing sport/and soccer to operate under. We do agree that it is a bit confusing as people will be going back to school and perhaps playing other sports or joining other activities. This question has been raised previously within the sport sector and the response is there is nothing preventing someone from being involved in multiple activities, however, the BC health authorities are not encouraging that and requesting people to limit their activity. ViaSport have stated there is no way to 'police' that activity. Therefore, we must focus on what we can control and within soccer, it is limiting participation to one cohort under the guidelines.
Are there specific guidelines on how the kick-ins will occur?
Per the guidelines kick-ins are to be treated as an indirect free kick. The goal is to keep the game as normal as possible, so we hope that kick-ins are treated as close to throw-ins as possible.
What happens if my team only has one set of goalkeeper gloves?
The guidance is to limit the sharing of equipment as much as possible. For the goalkeeper gloves, BC health authorities care of Via Sport have provided the following principles:
- No sharing of gloves on the same day
- Spray gloves with disinfectant after use and air dry
- Only share with individuals on the same team
What guidelines are in place for handling equipment and game day setup of nets?
Due to RTP guidelines and field permit’s requiring limited numbers of people on the field at any one time, official team staff are identified as the only individuals who can handle team and game equipment. If teams have limited staff available and require assistance from parents/players, the following must apply :
anyone handling the goals/nets must sanitize their hands before and after handling the goals and the nets
social distancing of a minimum 2 metres must be maintained at all times and in the case of parents, they must exit the field immediately after set up
soft masks are recommended with extra attention to ensuring hands are sanitized before handling the masks
Players must not be handling any equipment. If team staff cannot maneuver a goal and requires assistance from players, or if players inadvertently pick up a cone or ball with their hands, the players must abide as follows:
they must hand sanitize before and after moving the goals and maintain a minimum of 2 meters social distancing
they must hand sanitize if they inadvertently touch any equipment such as a ball and cones
Where can our team warm up prior to a game?
Teams are not permitted to enter the field area until the teams on the game field prior have completely exited and fully cleared away from the sidelines of the field. This may require a reasonable transition period. No exceptions. There is a 50 person capacity on each regulation field that may not be exceeded at any time.
Wait until the game is completed and teams have exited and fully cleared away from the sidelines of the field
Find a remote area such as the gravel field, softball diamond, etc. that is AWAY from walkways and other teams.
Players must social distance while walking to the warm-up area and bags must be placed 6ft apart even in your warm-up area.
Once the field is cleared from the prior game, and a reasonable time period has elapsed, you may enter through the designated entry point. See common example below
Always, once your game ends we ask that you exit the field as soon as possible. Please conduct any post-game talks and debrief discussions away from the field of play to allow for a safe and organized transition with the teams player their game in the next game slot on that field.
Game Transition Periods:
As mentioned above - Teams are not permitted to enter the field area until the teams on the game field prior have completely exited and fully cleared from the sidelines of the field. This may require a reasonable transition period. No exceptions. There is a 50 person capacity on each regulation field that may not be exceeded at any time.
A common example for game transitions is below:
Your game is a 2pm so you ask your team members to meet at 1:15pm at meeting area #1.
At 1:15pm all players start their warm up in a remote field area.
The 12:00pm game ends at 1:25pm. The 2 teams exit the field by 1:30pm, and now the game field is completely vacant.
Your team enters the field through the designated entry gates at 1:40pm and sets up your bench as per the RTP requirements
Your team completes the last 20 mins of warm-up on the game field
Your game begins at 2:00pm or thereabouts, guided by the direction of the referee.
General Return to Play
Does Surrey United have a formal Return to Play Plan?
Yes, Click here to see the plan. Its last update was October 6, 2020.
Will there be a 2020/21 fall/winter season?
We are required to follow BC Soccer’s Return to Play phases, each phase will be in place for an unknown period of time following the advice and direction of our government health authorities through ViaSport. Each phase of play must be approvedby the City of Surrey before the Club can enter into that phase of play.
Will the fall/winter soccer program change immediately once restrictions are lifted?
How will training sessions / practices look?
Ball mastery & control
Technical skills and drills (dribbling & passing)
Shooting on net
Fitness & conditioning (age-specific)
Speed & quickness training
Bodyweight resistance/core work
Off field tactical education
Are there other benefits to this modified training program other than just individual technical skill development?
Yes! In addition to technical physical (activity) development, there can be a major improvement on the mental, social and emotional aspects of the participant (both the player and the person). Our SUSC Return to Play training will allow teammates to reconnect socially and return to a more normal schedule and routine. It can be argued that the majority of return to play training benefits for our young players are in the areas of mental, social, psychological and emotional health.
Will there be gym practices in the fall/winter season for minis (U5-U8)?
We will be led by the school district with respect to gym practices and they have recently communicated that gym rentals will not be available until January 2021 at the earliest. We are working on alternative solutions for our youngest players which may include earlier practice times than traditionally scheduled.
Can spectators attend sessions?
Parents and spectators are strongly recommended to remain in their vehicles and / or pick and drop off their children in keeping with social distancing and gathering requirements of the health authorities. If spectators choose to stay, we ask that only one parent or guardian stay as recommended by BC Soccer.
Will the season still end in early March?
It is anticipated the seasons will remain the same. The Leagues and Districts have been discussing return to play options continually and have provided confidence there will be a regular season of some kind. See BC Coastal Soccer League’s Announcement here.
If we have registered for the fall/winter season and it is determined that there will be no games can we expect to receive a refund or reduction in fees?
Although there could be reduced number of sessions/games, there is an inevitable increase in the expenses to the Club to deliver all programming safely, requiring greater oversight and safety investments related to return to play. Please see our Refund Policy and COVID-19 Refund Policy Supplement for more information.
What are other Clubs doing?
All other members of BC Soccer must adhere to the same ViaSport and BC Soccer Return to Play requirements if they decide to return to sport and depending on their city/municipality permitting requirements and allowances.
Will I have to be on the field with my child?
Are either of the clubhouses open for team meetings and gatherings?
The clubhouses remain closed to all groups unless written permission from the Club President or Senior Vice President is obtained.
Has CSA reviewed Surrey United’s Return to Play Plan?
Canada Soccer’s evaluation tool has rated the SUSC Return to Play plan as “low risk”.
Will my child be a part of a team or just a training group if there are no games?
All players will be assigned to teams as per the District and BC Soccer registration policies. The SUSC team practice schedule will be structured the same as in years previous. There is a chance that multiple teams of the same age and gender may be in the same training slot and this would give the option of combining players for group / age-specific training opportunities.
Will there be any refunds if we opt in and then get sick?
Illness of any kind is covered by our Refund and Collections Policy.
When do you think interclub or regional game play could return?
BC Soccer’s Return to Play phases are guided by ViaSport Return to Sport Guidelines.
How has SUSC prepared its Club budget and operation plan to cope with the challenges created by COVID-19?
The Club’s Finance Committee has been meeting regularly in a focused attempt to react to and stay on top of financial impacts to the Cluband ensuring we maintain a financially and operationally stable position moving forward through the impacts of COVID-19.
How does the Club plan to keep members updated as we move forward?
Virtual Town Halls will be held; watch the website for further details
Communication will be provided through PowerUp and other means
- Weekly Return to Play updates communicated to team staff every Tuesday
When can I expect my son or daughter to be back on the field?
SUSC fall sessions begin in a staggered, age group manner, the week of August 31st
What ages will return to play this fall?
We have Club programming for all U6 - U18 ages available this fall.
Who or what is ViaSport?
At the request of the Premier Horgan and Lisa Beare, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, viaSport has led the process of reopening amateur sport across B.C. Collaborating with the recreation sector and sport agencies, viaSport’s guidelines offer the next step in the phased approach to resuming sport and recreation activities. For more see: https://www.viasport.ca/
Health & Safety
Will my child be required to wear a mask?
This is not a mandatory requirement of our provincial health authorities, therefore the use of a mask is at the player / parent’s discretion and comfort level.
What safety / health precautions can we expect at the field?
What happens if someone becomes infected with COVID-19 and has attended a Surrey United activity / event?
What if I don’t want to have my child come and find me after practice? Can I get out of my vehicle and meet my child in a pre-planned location near the field?
Yes, however this will become a social distancing issue quickly which has the potential to impact whether or not the City continues to permit the fields and facilities to be used by the user groups (Clubs) and whether or not organized youth sport can even continue. We see our Return to Play as a partnership that requires all of us to play an important role and do our part. If you choose to pick up your child in a location that requires you leave your vehicle, please keep social distancing requirements at the forefront of your actions and follow the park maps directions for all foot traffic and vehicle entry/exits and stay at least 10ft from the turf fencing at all times.
What type of specialized safety training have the staff coaches been provided with?
WorkSafeBC has specific protocols for all workplaces regardless of what those look like. Our WorkSafeBC plan is posted at the field for reference at all times and our Return to Play Plan does include information specific to the safety protocols expected for all Club programs.
Will Coaches be required to wear masks?
No. As identified in our Return to Play Plan, masks are optional in keeping with the recommendations of the BC Health Authorities. We strongly recommend coaches of our youngest players carry a mask at all times for incidents that may arise which inhibit the ability of the team staff member to socially distance (e.g., shoe tying). We have PPE (gloves and masks) in the clubhouse should a need arise for its use but recommend team staff carry their own.
Does SUSC have an outbreak plan?
Our Illness Policy contains the parameters surrounding our COVID-19 Plan. An “outbreak” is two or more cases; a “case” is a single case of COVID-19. In the event of a suspected outbreak, the Club will contact the Medical Health Officer (or delegate) at our local health authority through a call to 8-1-1. Tracing parameters to follow up on any outbreak is accomplished through team check-ins at each session and our field schedule/program registration details.
What should be done in an emergency situation?
If a player is injured, team staff should put a mask on before assisting the player off the field to await a parent or guardian. In an emergency, 911 should be called immediately.
What is a Compliance Assistant?
A Compliance Assistant is a new team staff volunteer that has a valid criminal record on file with the club and is permitted to be on the field with the team to provide support to the coaches in areas of equipment set up, social distancing on the sidelines and other Return to Play reminders to players so coaching staff and focus on the session and the experience of the players on the field.
Can you clarify how Kick-ins replace throw-ins?
See below and also HERE.
•The principles of Offside only apply to U11+
•The ball shall be kicked in from the point where it left the field of play.
•The ball must be stationary (stopped).
•The ball must be placed ON or BEHIND (within 6 inches) of the touchline.
•The player taking the kick in must face the field of play.
•The ball is in play when it is kicked, clearly moves and crosses over the touchline.
•At the taking of a kick-in, all opponents must be at least 5 meters from the ball.
•If the ball enters the opponent’s goal, a goal kick is awarded;
•If the ball enters the player’s goal who is taking the kick-in, a corner kick is awarded.
•If the kick-in is not taken correctly, it is retaken by the opposing team.
•If a player while correctly taking the kick-in deliberately kicks the ball at an opponent in order to play the ball again, but not in a careless or reckless manner, or using excessive force, the referee allows the play to continue.
•If the player taking the kick-in touches the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player, an indirect free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team from where the offence occurred.
•If the player taking the kick-in touches the ball a second time with their hands, a direct free kick or penalty kick (if happened inside the penalty area) shall be awarded to the opposing team (excluding U6-U10).
•An opponent who unfairly distracts or impedes the kicker (including moving closer than 5 meters to the place where the kick-in is to be taken) is cautioned for unsporting behavior. If the kick-in has already been taken, and indirect free kick is awarded.
Do referees need to be included in cohorts?
As stated in BC Soccer’s Return to Play Phase 2 Guidelines, “If using referees, it is recommended if possible, to assign a referee(s) to a specific cohort and avoid having that individual assigned to multiple cohorts.” Given the number of games, number of registered referees, and geography this is provided as a recommendation; however is not required.
If a player is also a referee, can the player be in a cohort with their team and still referee?
Generally speaking, refereesare not in physical contact with players; therefore, there isn’t anything preventing an individual to participate in a cohort as a player and still officiate matches. Guidance is to limit activity; therefore, wherever possible, referees are encouraged to limit their interaction. If referees are also players, they are encouraged to officiate within the geographic boundaries of their cohort as a player if possible and ensure they observe distancing whenever possible; for example, during pre-game check in.
How far can a referee travel to officiate a match?
The BC health authority guidance is to limit nonessential travel; therefore, it is recommended that referees are assigned to officiate matches following the guidance provided for teams:
Youth games, within Youth District and/or neighbouring Youth District geographical boundaries.
Adult games, within the Adult League.
Can a referee officiate in youth games and adult games (and/or multiple leagues)?
Yes, referees may officiate in more than one youth or adult league so long as the number of cohorts and travel is as limited as possible. Referee assigning is not done centrally by BC Soccer, therefore, ideally youth and adult referee assigners will work together to find reasonable assigning solutions. A consolidated list of public-facing referee assigner contact information that BC Soccer has record of is provided here: https://bcsoccer.net/referee-rules-regs
What is the general guidance for referee equipment?
Referees may not share water bottles (labeling is encouraged), whistles, towels, etc. Referees are encouraged to continue practicing safe, diligent hygiene habits.
Can flags be shared between referees?
If a referee has their own flag, they are encouraged to bring and use their own flag at games where they are in the role of Assistant Referee. Flags may be shared; however, must be sanitized before and after use. Referees may use gloves if they prefer. If an Assistant Referee or Club Linesperson is not comfortable using a “shared flag” they may use their arm to signal, or, may use a brightly coloured pinny or shirt of their own in replace of a flag.
Where does a referee enter/leave the field and where does a referee put their belongings during the match?
Referees are to enter and leave the field following our SUSC RTP Park Maps and/or plan provided by the local club for which they are officiating the match. If there is not a designated area for a referee to put their belongings during the match, placing them to the side of the field at the halfway line, which is common practice, is recommended, maintaining distance from any other individual's belongings at all times.
What changes for Pre-Game team checks?
For Pre-Game team checks, referees are advised to practice distancing measures from team officials and players. Referees are not to shake hands with team officials or players and should remind teams that there will be no pre or post game handshake, fist bumps, etc. When reviewing player ID cards and rosters/team lists, if referees are not comfortable handling player ID cards, team officials can hold the cards to assist.
Can referees still use a coin toss to determine which team will kick-off at the start of the game?
Yes, referees can still conduct the standard coin toss procedure. Referees are to bring and use their own coin and upon flipping/tossing the coin, let it fall to the ground or catch it themselves.
If a player spits or clears their nose at a match, is the referee responsible to manage this?
Based on guidance from Canada Soccer, referees are only able to address spitting when directed at someone, not when spitting or nose clearing occurs when not directed at someone.
If a player/participant does spit or clear their nose, the coach is required to substitute the player as quickly as possible at the next stoppage. The player must sit on the sideline for a minimum of 15% of the total game duration. (For example, the match duration is 50 minutes per the BC Soccer Small Sided Soccer Development Manual, the substituted player would need to sit for 7.5 minutes)
If a player “coughs at” another player or referee, what does the referee do?
If a player deliberately coughs at, or on, another player or the referee, following IFAB’s Laws of the Game, the referee shall use their discretion to determine if an offence/misconduct took place. If a referee determines that an offence took place, they may act according to the severity of the offence in their opinion. This means that the referee may caution the player with a yellow card as “unsporting behaviour”, or, they may send off the player via a red card for “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures” and/or “spitting” if the offence was deemed to be more egregious.
Is the referee responsible to ensure that players and coaches are following the distancing requirements on the sidelines?
Team Officials, including SUSC Compliance Assistants are responsible to manage their sideline, not the referee. As it relates, referees are to be lenient with team officials and players who may be standing outside the standard or identified technical area. Per normal requirements, team officials are to ensure they and their players are conducting themselves in a responsible manner in accordance with our GAME CHECKLIST.
Can referees officiate if they haven’t taken the Refresher Clinic?
Similar to past practice, some referees may not have had a chance to attend the Refresher Clinic; however, are assigned games. Referees can officiate these games; but are encouraged to take the annual Refresher Clinic as soon as possible/available. Surrey United will be posting the Referee Courses on its website as soon as they are available to be scheduled and provided to our referees.
What if we don’t have enough officials for our match?
BC Soccer’s Rules & Regulations state:
RULE 14 –REFEREES
c) No person shall officiate as a referee in any competition under the sanction or jurisdiction of BC Soccer who is not on the official list of BC Soccer, but if for unforeseen circumstances a referee on the official list is unable to act, the teams affected shall agree on some other person in the emergency.
The pandemic is no doubt an unforeseen circumstance; therefore, there may be challenges securing enough referees to officiate all matches. If there is no referee assigned to a match or if a referee is unable to attend, unless otherwise specified in league rules, members, affiliated organizations and teams are encouraged to uphold the ‘spirit of the game’ and coaches are recommended to each coach a half of the game.