YOUTH SOCCER LANDSCAPE
As Covid-19 has swept through our country, the youth soccer community has been among the most greatly affected. Teams in all 50 states have lost tens of thousands of games in 2020 and along with it, an entire 12 months of player development, social experience, and college recruiting.
Teams are eager to get back out on the field and enjoying the 'beautiful game'. As we come out on the 'other side' of this pandemic, the challenge we all face is discovering how to navigate the 'new' youth sports landscape. We have to try to make up for the time lost, but also find the most effective, efficient, and safe way of getting our teams games going forward.
The 2021 soccer year should be focused upon establishing some sense of normalcy and community in the game we love. The focus being on player safety and development and the spirit of togetherness the game brings to all of us.
Not just winning.
Players have been stuck indoors for many months, away from their teams, regular training, and game routines. What is needed during these pivotal upcoming months is a transition 'back to soccer' and establishing a new routine.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR TEAM AND THE YOUTH SOCCER COMMUNITY
Our 2021 events are built around "bringing soccer back, one day at a time". We will host a series of 1 day 'friendly' game events where teams of all levels of ability, from all parts of Missouri, can meet at a neutral site and play competitive games with teams from other parts of town. No overnight stay in hotel rooms, no overpriced tournament tuition, no unnecessary injury/safety risks.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in all of our lives due to Covid-19. The soccer community will face many challenges as we work to find a new 'normal' when we return to play over the coming months. Some of the primary concerns that families, teams, and club officials have raised:
Q: Tournaments are expensive and millions of families in the soccer community have seen at least part of their income lost during this pandemic. How are these events different?
A: We will be providing our events at some of the lowest prices in the country starting at just $295 per team. This would mean that each family's individual tuition would be as low as $20 to participate. Additionally, each 'mini tourney' event takes place during one day. Therefore removing the financial component (and health concerns) of hotel stays. The city of Boonville/Columbia is also known as one of the least expensive cost of living cities in the Midwest. Meaning that midday meals for the family, filling up your gas tank, etc. will be offered at a discount compared to 'big city events'.
Social Distancing / Public Safety:
Q: How will youth sporting events look as social distancing becomes part of our everyday lives?
A: In order to keep all players and spectators safe and practicing physical distancing, our events will be capped at just 60 teams and will be hosted at a facility that has 7 fields, and over 100 acres of space. Leaving enough room for each team and their spectators to have their own, uncrowded sideline. Additionally we schedule all games in a way that creates minimal field and facility crowding. Team benches and equipment will be sanitized between all matches. Limitations may be enforced regarding spectators. More guidance to the social distancing and safety protocol will be shared with each participating team as their event weekend approaches.
Q: What does an average event day look like for a team and will we need hotel accommodations?
A: NO FORCED HOTEL STAY! Since each 'mini tourney' consists of each team playing two games, on one day, there is no need for any team to book a hotel room. Matches are scheduled to be played primarily between 10am and 6pm. Late event start times mean no team will have to leave home at 6am to make it for an 8am kick off. Early end times will allow all teams to get home at a reasonable hour even if they have a 2 hour drive time. Teams are scheduled in a manner that limits their amount of time on site, yet allows ample rest/recovery time between matches. The proper balance of convenience and safety. Each team will play a 2 slightly shortened regulation games, with a 1hr-2hr break between games. Meaning that a 'full event' for any team will consist of just 7hrs or less INCLUDING DRIVE TIME, compared to the 40+ hr time commitment required by standard tournaments. Teams that wish to join us from out of state, will certainly have the option to book hotel rooms with our housing partners, and 3 game format can be provided.
Lack of Team Preparation:
Q: All teams across the country have been suspended from play for many months and haven't been able to train much. How can they be expected to 'perform' at their highest level and play competitive games given the lack of training time?
A: As all teams have been unable to train and prepare for 'real' games and 'real' competition, this event will NOT record scorelines, NOT offer the gain or loss of online rankings points, NO trophies, medals, nor standings. This event is strictly organized friendlies between comparable teams from different geographical markets where possible. Giving an opportunity to get back on the field against comparable opponents from outside of your city as a means for getting back into competitive play. This event should be viewed as a 'friendly' or 'preseason' event.
Risk of Injury:
Q: Players having not played nor trained regularly over the last 3 months will be at greater risk of physical injury. What precautions are being taken to help players return to play while limiting risk of injury?
A: The primary focus of our events is the safety of players and spectators as we return to play. Our events allow for unlimited substitutions during games, extended team rosters of up to 20 players allowed to participate in each game, shortened game length, and maximum of two games per day for each team. We will have certified athletic trainers on site providing medical coverage for all games. Mandatory water breaks will also take place during each 1/2 of game play.
Weather Related Concerns:
Q: Games played in the Midwest can be very hot. What is being done to keep the players safe during potentially very hot or cold
A: Our events offer extended rosters of up to 20 players allowed to participate in each game along with unlimited substitutions. This allows coaches to have more flexibility in managing each player's workload during matches. Each team will play a maximum of 2 games per day, further limiting the risk of heat related injury.
Q: Our team has lots of local opponents we see regularly. We attend out of town tournaments to guarantee we see new competition. What is being done to ensure that our team will not have to play teams from our local market?
A: Our events work closely with over 75 clubs from Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia and other cities within driving distance of our host site in Boonville. As the landscape of youth sports changes and less teams are willing to travel long distances and book hotel rooms in order to find competitive games outside their local market, our events provide all the benefits of an 'out of town' tournament, while minimizing the 'risks'.
Comparison to Other Tournaments:
Q: Our team has enjoyed our overall experience playing in many tournaments in the past. How are these events similar to other 'mainstream' events in the market place?
A: While our events differ from most 'mainstream' tournaments in that we have dramatically reduced tuition, and eliminated 'fluff' items such as trophies and rankings points, our events offer all the 'comforts' and high standards that have become common place in the top tournaments around the country. We offer the convenience of on site concessions, clean restroom facilities, and multiple vendors. All matches have athletic trainers on site and are sanctioned and insured by MYSA and USYS to protect players in the event of an injury. All matches are officiated by nationally certified real referees from multiple cities throughout Missouri and Kansas.
Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Q: We have been part of several events that have been cancelled due to pandemic or weather related issues. In the event the tournament is cancelled either entirely or partially, what are the refund policies?
A: We understand that every event requires a great deal of time, money, and effort on the part of every team and family in attendance. Getting cancelled for any reason is a huge bummer and inconvenience for everyone involved. Our staff, like the teams and families that choose to participate, put a great deal of time and energy into our events. There are many weeks of work that go into putting on an event and providing a high quality experience to our attendees. When a cancellation takes place, we all suffer. Our events are offered at a very low price, but do not skimp on product quality. Each team's tuition covers two main expense factors: 1. Administrative fees (~$65): scheduling, bracketing, sanctioning, registration, parking, staffing, etc. 2. Competition fees: facility/field rental, referees, trainers, game play, etc. In the event of a complete cancellation due to pandemic or weather related issues, every team will receive a full refund of their competition fees. The tournament will retain up to $45 of the administrative fee. This fee is retained to cover 'sunk' costs and partially compensate the staff who put a great deal of time and effort into the many weeks of preparation time leading up to the event. In the event that a team only completes one of their two scheduled matches due to weather cancellation, they will receive a refund of no less than 80% of their unplayed game competition fees. No refunds will be given to teams that drop out of an event after the registration deadline or after they have been accepted. See individual tournament deadline dates for event specifics. Covid specific cancellations will warrant a tournament refund. All refund requests will be reviewed by the board and processed in the order received.
Q: What documents are needed for participation in these events?
A: All of our events require the following items be uploaded to your Gotsoccer account:
Official State Roster or 'Tournament Roster'
Travel Permit Form – State specific permission to travel forms are required from non-Missouri, USYS teams. US Club carded teams do not require state travel permit.
Guest Player Permit Form (Click Here)– If your team will be utilizing a guest player from another team, a guest player form must be submitted to allow that player's participation. This form will have to be submitted via Gotsoccer. This form requires the signature of the coach who is loaning the player, as well as the signature of the coach who is borrowing the player. No club admin signature is required. Any violation to proper use of this document will result in event forfeiture of the team, possible long term suspension of the coach, and negate coverage provided by the sanctioning of this event.
Player Cards / Medical Forms — Player cards will be checked by officials prior to every game. No player will be allowed to participate without a CURRENT player card present at the match. Player cards and medical forms DO NOT need to be submitted via Gotsoccer prior to the tournament kickoff. Medical release forms from your home state are required to be in your possession at tournament in the event of an injury.
All check-in required documents must be received by the tournament committee through your GotSoccer account
approximately 2 weeks prior to event kick off date.
Q: Where can I find the rules for each of these events?
A: Each or our events has a "RULES" button on the event homepage. Click there for specifics.