We want to provide an update to the membership on the status of the current guidelines from Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) and their impact on the club’s activities. As of today, Illinois remains under the guidelines set on August 14 for the All Sports Policy and soccer remains a medium risk sport. The guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department Public Health are universal for all sports and organizations throughout the state; these guidelines are not unique to Illinois Youth Soccer.
After numerous attempts to communicate directly with the state, IYSA held a meeting with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the government agency tasked with publishing the COVID guidelines, on Tuesday, September 15. The goal of this meeting was to specifically discuss soccer specific guidelines with the hope of allowing competitive soccer games playing again. IYSA left the meeting with the belief this information would be discussed at their next meeting with the IDHP, Friday, September 18. When details of this meeting are released, we will pass them on to the membership.
Currently, within Illinois, we are able to conduct regular trainings and play club friendly matches, but not competitive matches outside the club, league games, or tournaments. However, the club is permitted to travel outside of Illinois to certain states to play matches, friendly and competitive tournaments. The approved Midwest states that we can travel to include Indiana, Minnesota, and Missouri. Currently Wisconsin is not on the approved list. The exception to this is our competitive teams that are participating in the Midwest Conference of National League.
Several of our teams are attending the Millennium Fall Classic this weekend and we are looking at 2 other local, drivable Indiana tournaments towards the end of October. We have identified these events as potential replacements for the events the teams lost around the Labor Day period.
Based on the current guidelines outlined by IYSA and the State of Illinois, we do not anticipate being able to hold Octoberfest over its usual weekend, we will look for alternatives for our tournament when and if they become available. The Octoberfest Tournament is not included in the club fees and therefore will not be replaced by another event. It is a tournament that we host for the benefit of the membership, which is offset with member volunteer hours. If we are unable to host our tournament then the volunteer hours will not be required and the buyouts refunded. The local leagues are staying positive that we will be able to get games in once allowed, through November, and we will continue to compete within our club structure until that time.
Looking forward to winter training opportunities, the availability of space for a club of our size is very limited. The club is exploring every available option including working with the Village of Libertyville to use the Libertyville Sports Complex for indoor training. We will release further details and related indoor training protocols and procedures once they become available.
We are very happy to report that since we began training in June, with a variety of training procedures and game situations, we have not had one positive COVID-19 case of a GLSA athlete or coach. With that, we have also seen zero transmission of the virus through the club or the Libertyville Township Soccer Complex. As we have done in the past, we will continue work to give our athletes the best experience possible in a safe environment as we look towards the future.