South Texas Youth Soccer Association (STYSA) has adopted the US Youth Soccer KidSafe program as the foundation for STYSA’s Risk Management Program. It is our intent to make every reasonable effort to deny from participation any person who has been convicted of a crime of violence or a crime against another’s person that would bring unnecessary risk to the health or safety of program participants. In accordance with STYSA Rule 3.12.1, each coach, assistant coach, manager, trainer, volunteer administrator, board member, and staff/employee over the age of 17, must have a background check performed prior to each new seasonal year.
In order to make this process as simple as possible for the volunteers and staff members STYSA has incorporated the background check application and processing with the adult registration process in STYSA’s designated on-line registration program. This process allows each volunteer or staff person to submit their background check data on-line at the same time that they register to coach, referee, or otherwise participate. Only one background check is required per person regardless of the number of Clubs or Associations the person is affiliated with. Contact your local Club or Member Association for more information regarding the registration process.
The data encryption used to ensure safety of the submitted data is the same encryption criteria used by banks to protect personal and financial data of their account holders and with ATM and electronic banking transactions.
The actual processing of the background check is performed by Backgroundchecks.com using their US One search database. Background check results fall into one of two categories:
Positive – means no “hits” were found and the volunteer or staff member is eligible to be assigned to a team as a coach or administrator or to participate as a referee, board member or in another volunteer capacity.
Negative– means that some “hits” were found and a review by the KidSafe Committee is required before the before the volunteer or staff member is deemed eligible to participate. Should the KidSafe Committee determine that the item discovered in the background check is serious enough to declare the volunteer or staff member ineligible to participate, a decline letter will be sent to the volunteer or staff member notifying them of such and informing them that they have a right to file an appeal for reinstatement.
In order to eliminate delays in receiving your Adult Participation Pass (aka KidSafe Pass), these Passes are printed locally by your Club or Member Association Registrar.
In the event that a volunteer or staff member is declared ineligible to participate, they will be notified of such determination by the State Office as will the Risk Management Officer of their Member Association. The individual will have the opportunity to file an appeal through the STYSA Appeals Committee to have their case reviewed. Procedures for filing an appeal will be included in the notification letter sent by the State Office. If a volunteer is subsequently cleared to participate by the Appeals Committee, their status will be adjusted in STYSA’s designated on-line database and their local registrar will be able to assign them to a team and print their Adult Participation Pass. Individuals who are cleared through this process will not be prevented from participating in future years nor will they have to repeat the appeals process again for the same item.
Each member association will be billed $5 for each background check application submitted by their adult participants. Invoices for each member association will include a list of their volunteer or staff member names, date of birth, ID Number, Club name (if applicable), address, phone number and e-mail address (if available. )
Individuals must have the Adult Participation Pass visible at all times, whether at practice or games. It is the responsibility of the Member Associations and their clubs to confirm that all adult volunteers working with players at practice or on the sideline of games have had a background check; are eligible to participate; and possess an Adult Participation Pass. All adult volunteers will be required to show their Adult Participation Pass in order to secure a Bench Pass for use at state-sponsored post season events.
Other Things to Consider
In addition, to the background check itself, there are other aspects to this area of Risk Management that need to be considered in order to protect both the adult participants and the youth participants. In most cases, it’s a matter of using common sense and preventing situations that give the perception of inappropriate behavior or could place a child at risk. For example:
- Physical contact should be limited to what is necessary and appropriate to teach a skill.
- A volunteer (other than parent or guardian) alone with a player in a one-to-one situation could be misconstrued. Therefore, it is important that an adult volunteer not place themselves in such a situation.
- There is a time and place for expressive actions such as pats on the back or any other form of touching. Volunteers must act in a defensive mode so that there is no perception of impropriety.
- Don’t print children’s names on their jersey’s or bags. This provides an open invitation to a person attempting to lure a child away.
GOAL POST SAFETY
Each year children die from falling soccer goal posts. There are an estimated 500,000 goal posts in the United States . Many of these are unsafe because they are unstable or not properly anchored to the ground. Although every effort should be made to prevent children (or adults) from hanging or climbing on goal posts, volunteers can’t be everywhere – and kids will be kids! They don’t realize the risk they are putting themselves at while just doing what comes naturally. Even the most agile child can’t get out of the way of a falling goal that may weigh several hundred pounds. Deaths are not limited to children – there have been adults injured and killed because they were doing chin-ups on a goal. Not properly anchored into the ground, the goal post fell suddenly striking him on the head.
Don’t let tragedy strike your community. Be sure that each and every goal post is properly anchored. If using portable goals, anchor them during play and then move them to a secure location to prevent injuries while no one is at the site. Deaths and soccer injuries do not always occur while officials are on or near the fields; as a matter of fact, the majority of the incidents known about occurred when the goals were unattended. There have been injuries occur while a volunteer was tightening the net, while a child was just playing in the general area, and even when a sudden wind gust shifted the goal.
Remember to secure the goal posts to the ground, preferably at the rear of the goal, and make sure the anchors are flush with the ground. There are several different ways to secure the goal posts. The number and type of anchors needed depend on many factors – soil type, moisture content, and the weight of the goal.
Annual Goal Post Inspection Reports for each facility used for practice or games are required and must be submitted to the State Office along with the Certificate of Insurance Request form before a Certificate of Insurance can be issued.
Goal Post Safety Tips
- Securely anchor or counterweight movable soccer goals at ALL times.
- Anchor or chain goals to one another or to a sturdy fixture such as a fence or building when not in use.
- Remove nets when goals are not in use.
- Check for structural integrity and proper connecting hardware before every use. Replace damaged or missing parts immediately.
- NEVER allow anyone to climb on the net or goal framework.
- Ensure safety / warning labels are clearly visible ( under the crossbar and on the sides of the posts at eye level)
- Fully disassemble goals for seasonal storage if possible.
- Exercise extreme caution when moving goals, allowing adequate manpower to move the goals based on size and weight.
- Do not allow youngsters or other people in the area when goals are being moved.
- Instruct players on the safe handling of and potential dangers associated with movable goals.
OTHER SAFETY ISSUES
The risk of an injury in any sport is always present. Parents know this when they sign their child up to play sports, but they expect and should receive a safe playing environment in which to play. While some leagues play on field maintained by city or county crews, other fields receive little or inconsistent maintenance. League officials must take the time necessary to check the fields to be used by their teams. Look for depressions, holes, sprinkler heads or miscellaneous debris that may cause a child to trip or fall. While routine inspections should be done by officials, coaches should also be diligent in identifying things that could be dangerous to their players.
Even though every effort is made to keep the environment safe, an injury will still occur. In those cases, it is important that the child receive the best possible attention available. All coaches should have a first aid kit in their possession and basic knowledge of first aid. Coaches attending the education courses offered by STYSA are given basic instructions in first aid which can be of valuable assistance to coaches.