PLEASE READ, THIS THE FOLLOWING IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THIS WEEK’S PRACTICE AND AN UPDATE ON FALL SOCCER. I will detail the following:
Ohio Return to Play Phase Description & Practice: There is a lot of information from many data sources and I wanted to take a minute to synthesize again where SYSA stands relative to return to play. The Ohio Department of Health promulgated many guidelines, including return to play for contact and non-contact sports. To simplify the protocols germane to this communication, these promulgations have been divided into three phases:
The state moved to Phase 2 in June however SYSA stayed in Phase 1 for our summer skills camp as we started and promoted the camp as skills only. We also stayed in Phase 1 for the additional early August complimentary camp and for last week’s practice as we worked through field contracts with the City. We will move to Phase 2 starting tomorrow, which means full contact scrimmage and play at practice.
We hope to move to individual practice fields next week. The timing of this will be based on City maintenance availability. We will keep you informed as we know more. Again, apologies for the delays, we have been working hard to provide timely and advanced communication.
Practice Description & Curriculum: Practices will follow a standard thematic progression including a warm-up, technical exercise, tactical exercise and scrimmage. Usually warm-ups and technical exercises encompass minimal contact, usually the tactical exercise will be small-sided participation with contact and the exercise at the end of practice will be a full-contact scrimmage. You can review our curriculum HERE.
Competitive Game Outlook: Governor DeWine plans to make an announcement regarding fall school sports on Tuesday. The state will need to move the re-opening to Phase 3 for schools, clubs, etc. to play one another. Many people are optimistic that the state will move to Phase 3 on Tuesday which will pave the way for clubs to play one another versus just scrimmage inside the club but we are not sure and we also do not know the details. SYSA plans to host games this fall in either the intra-club or inter-club format. The City has approved of our intra-club format. Please stay tuned as we will learn more in the coming week.
I wanted to provide a brief update on the rest of summer and fall programming in light of the recent Shaker City School decision to go virtual and their announcement that fall sports are suspended until further notice. The following will provide some clarity regarding: SYSA play and practice, next week’s camp, and the overall fall schedule.
Play: On June 18th, Governor Dewine released guidelines for phase II reopening which allowed for contact and intra-club scrimmages. However, inter-club competition is not yet allowed because our state has not moved to phase 3 of the reopening plan. Ohio has become more restrictive over the past month and the likelihood of inter-club competition continues to dwindle. This poses a significant hurdle to a successful school sports season. We’ve all seen various schools shut down their fall season in recent days with a domino effect across the affected leagues. As of now, the competitive league in which we play, the Ohio Travel Soccer League, plans to start games on August 16th however we fully anticipate a delay to this start date to September and the potential for cancellation if Ohio doesn’t move to phase 3. We should receive guidance in the near-term and we will keep you posted.
Practice: As I mentioned above, intra-club practices and scrimmage is allowed in the State and we plan to start our practices as planned on August 10th. Shaker City Recreation department activities have not closed and our contracted fields with the City are open. We may need to move some practices due to City/school field maintenance changes related to school sport suspension and we will notify you prior to your practice if you are affected. At a minimum, our practices will comply with State of Ohio Responsible Restart mandatory protocols. You can find the Responsible RestartOhio Contact Sport Practices HERE.
Camp: We plan to start our summer camp this Monday as scheduled but will implement at a minimum the "mandatory skills training for all sports guidelines" released by the State of Ohio (these are more restrictive than the current contact sport practices currently in place). You can find the Responsible RestartOhio Skills Training guidelines HERE.
Fall Schedule/OHTSL: We are concurrently working with the City of Shaker on fields for SYSA to provide intra-club competition (not inter-club) while we await OHTSL guidance. The intra-club competition, in lieu of OHTSL competition if the competitive league cancels, could include smaller-sided scrimmages/teams with fewer players and other measures to create a more COVID friendly environment while also being a great way to build soccer skills and overall athleticism through movement and higher levels of touches. Please be patient and stay tuned.
Goalkeeper Training: In our team welcome emails, we incorrectly indicated goalkeeper training will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays however training will occur only on Tuesday nights from 6-8 in two groups so as to allow players with overlapping practices to attend a session. Apologies for the confusion.
School v. Non-School Sports: We’ve received questions about why SYSA is open while the school is shutting operations. Recent guidance from the Cuyahoga Board of Health recommends schools start remote and also cancel all extracurricular activities while the Ohio High School Athletic Association issued a statement Friday afternoon to its member schools reaffirming its position that the seasons are “moving forward as planned.” We are not privy to these decisions or discussions however one must recognize the various factors that go into these decisions including transport, facilities, risk factors (such as indoor v outdoor), etc. that affect government recommendations. We are not opining on risk, but merely citing factors that affect decisions.
We’ve received a number of emails this weekend from parents asking about refunds, the league, teams, safety and/or projecting about the fall. Things continue to be fluid in the current environment, State practice and play protocols have not changed which allow for us to engage in contact at practice and conduct intra-club scrimmages and the risk of a COVID infection, despite our best effort to implement protocols, remains. Your organization has been working overtime since March to make this a great experience for you and the current environment continues to be challenging for us all. I know anxiety is high. Please be patient as we work through the current situation with our league that still plans to start games this fall, the City and derive solutions in the event the league is cancelled.
I wish everyone the best, please be safe and let’s all do what is necessary to slow the spread.
We need your immediate help, please read.
Covid-19 presents many challenges and unknowns as we head into the fall soccer season and it’s not a surprise that many parents have questions. We’ve covered a variety of issues as they’ve arisen in various previous communications. However, to keep everyone in the loop, I’ve tried to pull together a FAQ list which represents our current understanding (see below). Our overarching goal is to get the kids playing again in a fun, developmentally appropriate and safe (as possible) environment while relieving some of the financial stress families may be facing. However, in order to achieve our goal, we need your immediate help by letting us know your intentions for the fall season.
We hope the following information helps answer any lingering questions you may have, but please reach out if you would like to further discuss any of the information we’ve provided.
1. Our league (OHTSL) is requiring us to declare our teams in early July, which is quickly approaching. We are asking that you help us meet this deadline by registering your player ASAP so we know how many teams to declare. Alternatively, if your player is not planning on joining us this fall, it would help us to understand if your decision was influenced by the current COVID situation. If you feel comfortable, we would also ask if you would share whether your decision was influenced by the current COVID situation by answering this brief survey. (The more we understand, the better we can adjust our offerings). FALL SURVEY CLICK HERE.
2. We understand that many players have not practiced for 2-3 months and some have not touched a soccer ball for 4-5 months. As we mentioned in the spring, we plan to continue with the same teams from this past year for the first half of the fall season, then hold tryouts mid-way through the fall season for the second half of fall and beyond.
3. Recreational and/or new players need to be placed on Travel teams and can attend a skills assessment this Wednesday, July 1 at Shaker Middle School, from
5:30-6:30pm. We’ve been holding skills assessments over the past few weeks and this Wednesday will be our final offering.
4. Our program will comply with Ohio Board of Health regulations, which currently allow for contact sports. If the Ohio Board alters the policy between now and the start of the fall season, we will act responsibly, similar to how we operated in the spring, by offering refunds for fall fees and/or programs.
5. We’ve built a financial aid fund to help our families (Financial Aid) and are only asking families to register for the fall at this time thus dramatically reducing your fall
commitment. (In the past, families registered for both fall and spring at the same time.)
6. If you have questions about the travel program, you can reach out to our board Travel Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach contact our Technical Director of Coaching, Yasser Hussein, about placement/teams at email@example.com and to about registration/financial aid, etc.
7. This is a perfect year to consider Travel versus Recreational soccer due to the
unbundling of fees (families can register for fall and spring seasons separately). The main differences between the programs are as follows. Recreational soccer is a 7 week fall program with 1x per week practice and every other week skills session, 7 games primarily played in Shaker/Beachwood and is volunteer coached. Travel soccer is an 11 week fall program with 2x per week 1:15 (or 1:30 for older age groups) minute weekly practice, every other week skills clinic, an early August pre-season soccer camp and 8 weeks of games, 4 played in Shaker and 4 primarily played against other eastside communities (such as Mayfield, Solon, Hudson) and is professionally coached with volunteer support. In addition, Travel players will receive goalkeeper training.
I hope this provides context and answers questions in this time of uncertainty. We have a great program (check out our STAFF, I am convinced it is the best community program staff in the state) and we’re excited about the fall.
From the Coaches:
Hello SYSA Families,
The coaching staff and I are extremely grateful to all of you for generously donating some of your spring refunds to us. While the money is very helpful, it is even more important to us spiritually and represents the bond we have as a club. It shows us that the time we’ve spent teaching, motivating, and supporting our players and parents is valuable and appreciated. I feel that all of us - coaches, parents, players, administrators, and board members - are one big SYSA family, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Thank you again,
Yasser Hussein, Technical Director
& The SYSA Coaching Staff
From the Board:
Thanks so much to all of you who donated refunds back to the club. This has been so helpful not only to our coaches, but also in keeping the club operational and enabling more children to play soccer in the future. We are grateful for every one of you, and look forward to seeing you at the soccer field soon!
The SYSA Board of Directors
Please look for an individual donation acknowledgement in your email in the coming weeks.
If you have not yet completed the survey to request a refund for spring or elect to make a donation, the survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NKFXBK6
For planning purposes,the approximate refund available for those who had paid in full is: Travel U10 and under: $190, Travel U11 and over: $315, Shaker Heights Recreation: $100, High School Spring: $350