Return to Play Guidelines

California Governor Gives New Guidelines for Return to Play

On February 26, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom has recently updated California’s guidelines for return to play for youth and high school sports, which includes Cal North Soccer Association.

The updated guideline will allow outdoor high-contact sports to resume in purple and red tier counties, if the COVID-19 rates in those counties remain at or below 14 per 100,000 residents. Competitions are allowed between only two teams in the same or adjacent counties. Teams however are not allowed to participate in more than one game a day. This is scheduled to go into effect on February 26, 2021.

Under the updated guidance, outdoor high-contact sports can be played in counties in the Purple or Red tier with a case rate at or below 14 per 100,000.  Weekly testing will be required for football, rugby and water polo participants age 13 and over in counties with a case rate between 7 and 14 per 100,000.

In the Bay Area, restrictions were lifted for all counties, except Solano and Contra Costa.

Cal North will be hosting a series of R2P meetings powered by Zoom starting Monday, Feb. 22 throughout the day to further explain what needs to be done to get your players back on the field. 

Full list of the guidelines can be found here.

Other links to stay informed:

Updated information from CDPH:

Information on Return to Play from CDPH:


For common FAQ's, please follow the link below. FAQ's will be updated when more information is released.


Informed Consent/Waiver/Release and Acknowledgment of Risk of Injury, Loss & Communicable Diseases including COVID-19

Template Letter

If you missed the Return to Play virtual meetings, download the presentation below.

Return to Play Presentation

Feel free to download any of the following Cal North #R2P branded Zoom backdrops for your personal use. 

Free Cal North #R2P Zoom Backdrops


Download the Cal North Return to Play Guidelines

(Spanish Version)


Game Day Considerations

  • Face coverings worn by participants and spectators.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist pumps, chest bumps, huddles, etc.
  • Each player should bring their own drink bottle.
  • Social distancing should be maintained wherever possible for players and at all times for spectators, coaches, and players not on the field.
  • Frequent hand washing or sanitizing before, during, and after play.

Return to Play Responsibilities

The recommended responsibilities below are based on information provided to us by US Youth Soccer, the CDC, the State of California, and local health experts. We urge you to review the recommendations we have provided while also following the directives from the State of California and your local health directors.


* Follow all Return to Play guidelines
* Take your temperature daily and especially before activities with others
* Wash hands thoroughly before and after all activities
* Bring and use hand sanitizer with you to every training
* Wear a face covering or mask before and immediately after all training
* Ensure all equipment (ball, cleats, shinguards, pinnie) is sanitized prior to and after any activity
* Do not share water, food, or equipment
* Respect and practice social distancing, as required in these guidelines
* Place equipment bags, etc. at least 6-feet apart
* No high-5’s, handshakes, hugs or group celebrations

If you are uncomfortable with returning to play, DON’T.


* Ensure that your player is healthy; check your child’s temperature prior to attending any activity
* Notify your club/coach if your player becomes ill for any reason
* No car pooling of players unless from the same family
* No spectators at training/practice in Steps 1 & 2; parents should observe from their cars
* Spectators & parents should maintain proper social distancing in Steps 3 & 4
* When at training, wear a mask if outside your car
* Ensure player’s clothing is washed after every activity
* Ensure all equipment (ball, cleats, shin guards, pinnie) is sanitized prior to and after any activity
* Supply your player with individual sanitizer at every training
* Adhere to all social distancing guidelines
* Ensure your player has plenty of water

If you are not comfortable having your child return to play, DON’T


* Follow all Return to Play guidelines
* Inquire how players are feeling; send them home if they are not feeling well
* Ensure all players have their own individual equipment (ball, water, shin guards, pinnie, etc.)
* Ensure activities provide adequate social distancing per state and local health guidelines
* Coach is the only person to handle communal equipment (cones, discs); do not enlist parental assistance
* Scrimmage vests or pinnies are not recommended unless they can be issued individually to each player for their own laundry and care
* Wear a face covering or mask when not actively coaching; maintain social distancing from players
* Have fun and stay positive – players and parents are looking to you to stay calm, supportive and caring at this time

Respect players, parents and families by accommodating those that may not yet be comfortable returning


* Distribute and post Return to Play guidelines to all members
* Provide adequate field space for social distancing as applicable to various stages
* Establish a designated drop off and pick up zone for each field or parking lot
* Train and educate all staff to your league and club’s guidelines and protocols for Return to Play
* Have an action plan in place in case of a positive test for COVID-19
* Work with public health to notify adult leaders, youth and their families if the league or club learns a participant or adult leader has developed COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others while at activity
* Maintain participant confidentiality regarding health status
* Document reasonable and prudent steps taken and completed to keep players, coaches, staff and spectators as safe as reasonably possible
* Be prepared to shut down and stop operations

Be sensitive and accommodating to parents that may be uncomfortable with returning to play

Additional Resources

Local Health Departments

In the development of your league or club's return to play protocols, you must follow the directives of the state of California and your local county health department. 

Find your local County Health Department

National Governing Bodies Resources
National and State Guidelines


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