To NCSA Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community:
All of us are looking forward to a safe return to play this fall as we yearn for a distraction from the past six months of dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. The NCSA volunteer Board of Directors has been tirelessly working on plans designed to ensure that we all can enjoy soccer again this Fall.
We have temporarily modified our Rules of Competition to make it easier for clubs to field teams including offering a 7 v 7 option for U13, U14, and U15 teams that were struggling to complete rosters for full sided, 11 v 11 play.
We have extended our registration by over three weeks giving clubs more opportunity to finalize rosters;
We have modified Rules of Competition concerning where teams and spectators assemble on the field to maximize safety for all;
We are modifying some of our Game Day Procedures such as suspending the pre-game coin flip as we seek to reduce unnecessary contact and to promote distancing;
We extended our affiliation with US Club Soccer and in doing so gained financial stability by freezing pass costs at current levels;
We have also implemented an exciting change to our competition with our upper flights in most age groups finishing the season with a playoff to determine flight winners. We are excited to implement this change this Fall season as it will provide meaningful competition to the very last week of the season. Additionally, as a part of our extension with US Club Soccer we have created a path for top NCSA teams to compete in US Club Soccer State and Regional Cup play as early as Spring 2021. Outreach has begun with neighboring US Club sanctioned leagues in NJ and NY which may lead to inter-league play options for clubs/teams seeking more variety in competition as the NCSA evolves to provide more comprehensive competition options to clubs.
Another notable development during our time away from the field this Spring was the reinstatement of the NCSA Scholarships. For the first time in several years the NCSA has awarded two Scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are looking to continue their education. With the successful reinstatement of this program we will most certainly be continuing it in 2021 and beyond.
With our registration for Fall 2020 closing, we understand that with optimism comes worry. Worry about the safety of players, coaches, referees and families. Worry about new regulations and guidelines which must be navigated by clubs. There are many uncertainties and we will all need to work together support each other especially through the Fall 2020 season. The NCSA will not be issuing distinctive return to play guidelines. Rather, we are supporting guidelines already in place by the CDC, State, Regional and Local authorities, the United States Soccer Federation and US Club Soccer. Frankly with all of these regulations and guidelines in place, and specific rules and regulations enacted by Clubs and the municipalities and school districts that they have to work with for field access, any specific guidelines initiated by the NCSA would be duplicative and only increase the complexity for clubs trying to operate in these trying times.
In closing, I want to remind everyone that we all are in this together. As we begin playing soccer again we must remain vigilant and promote good health practices (exceptional hygiene, hand sanitization, wearing masks, and social distancing). Most importantly we must constantly reinforce that players and or coaches that are unwell need to stay away from the field and seek medical attention. In order for all of us to enjoy this return to play, we all must be responsible to each other and there can be no exceptions. Our communication with each other also must be timely and accurate and we will all need to be understanding and flexible as undoubtedly there will be developments that could not have been foreseen. I thank you for your support, cooperation and understanding.