Safety is the league's number one priority. All volunteers are trained for safety -- via Safe Haven courses (required for all coaches, assistant coaches and referees). Other safety policies -- weather policies, field and equipment inspections and updates, community engagement and requiring proper gear -- all contribute to the safety of our players, our volunteers and our families.
Four key league level volunteers -- the Regional Commissioner, the Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate (CVPA), the Safety Director and the Equipment Director -- are dedicated to ensuring the safety of everyone participating in WSSL. Every division head is also responsible for making sure their division is safe by serving as a point of contact and engaging a divisional safety committee to investigate any issue that arises. Further, every referee considers safety first before allowing players to play.
Any safety issue should be reported immediately to the appropriate division head and/or one or all of the officials listed above. Our Safety Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and CVPA (email@example.com) are dedicated to helping you resolve any issues. Please contact them with any questions.
Protecting Our Players
One way we protect our players is through AYSO with insurance support. All registered players are covered through registration and by a signed medical release form. Each player MUST have a signed medical release form for each coach they play for. It's really easy to do. Follow these simple instructions:
- Log in to wssl.org at the top of the page using your own user name and password.
- Select Family Profile.
- Click the gray tab on the horizontal bar that says "Children" on it.
- Under your child's name, click the box that says "Print Medical Release."
- Sign the form.
- Give it to your Core, Skills Training, Tournament and Travel coach or trainer.
- Your coach should keep the Medical Release for your child and all other children on the team in his/her coach bag on the field each practice and game.
In addition to this important paperwork, we insist that all players wear the proper equipment -- shinguards, lace up shoes -- on the field. We also invest in new goals and nets for each field periodically to ensure that we have the safest, most up-to-date equipment that is in the best working order.
Referees will not permit a game to start on a field where there is any hazard to the players. Players must wear shin guards, and the shin guards must be completely covered by socks; no player may wear jewelry (including watches, rings, bracelets, and earrings of any kind), plaster casts or baseball cleats. Only goalkeepers may wear hats. No helmets of any kind may be worn by any player. A player who is bleeding must leave the field and is considered injured; the bleeding must be stopped and the wound/cut bandaged before the player may return.
All Volunteers Must Be Registered
All WSSL volunteers - board members, division heads, chief referees, coaches, referees, team managers, and other administrators - must be registered as such with AYSO national.
Volunteer backrounds and references are checked by national staff to ensure the safety of our children. Your information will not be shared with any third party. Key personal information (e.g., social security numbers) will be encrypted. You will need to fill in specific information including details on personal references. Once you are ready, please click on the link below to register as a volunteer through AYSO national's eAYSO system. http://www.eayso.org/
Tips On Volunteer Registration
It's easy to do. Just follow the Log In instructions. Click on Volunteer on the top of the eayso site, sign up and go. (Make sure you hit Volunteer, not parent.) If you have registered as a volunteer before, it takes just a few minutes to update your record. If not, it is easy to sign up as a new volunteer and takes just an extra couple of minutes. Once you are done, print the form, sign it (this is essential for you to be covered by insurance) and give it to your Division Head. Your Division Head will then give the form to the League's Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate (CVPA) for processing.
If you forgot your password, you will need to call the lovely people at eAYSO, not the lovely people at WSSL. eAYSO folks can be reached Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm Pacific Standard Time at 866.588.2976. They can help you find your password or generally trouble shoot your volunteer registration.
If you are having other troubles with your volunteer registration, please contact our Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incident Report Form
For any incident or accident on the field during a West Side Soccer League game or practice, related parties need to fill out an Incident Form. The form should be filled out by a Coach, Referee or other WSSL volunteer (like the Safety Director or Division Head) for any of the following:
- Incidents -- threats
- Incidents -- fighting -- any type
- Property damage
- Law enforcement summoned
Supplemental Accident Insurance
WSSL has supplemental insurance for accidents that take place during WSSL practices, games, meetings, etc. Please contact our Safety Director (email@example.com) for more information.
Safe Haven Training
To ensure the safety of both children and volunteers, each volunteer is required to take a short in-person or online training session called Safe Haven. It focuses on safety and appropriate behavior with children as well as first aid and other on-field issues. Agreeing to a background check is also required for each volunteer.
The child protection aspect includes proactive steps that promote a positive, healthy environment for children. Volunteer protection comes into play as a result of volunteer training, certification and continuing education. The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provides certain legal protections for volunteers who have been trained and certified and act in accordance with a written job description. Safe Haven gives volunteers the highest degree of protection available under the law.
In Case of Unsafe Field Conditions
WSSL games are played in all kinds of weather. As a rule, WSSL cancels games and practices for two reasons:
1. the safety of the children
2. protection of the fields
The comfort of parents and coaches is NOT one of the leagueâ€™s considerations. Please dress for the weather. Kids enjoy playing soccer in all conditions.
Decisions regarding cancellations are made by the Regional Commissioner in discussion with Division Heads, by the Chief Referee and/or by the Parks Department. In addition, during the course of play a referee may cancel a game if the conditions on the field become unsafe for play. Games are ALWAYS cancelled if there is lightning or thunder. A coach or group of coaches may not decide to cancel a game unless there is lightning.
Please check the web site homepage for field updates/game status on days where rain, snow or other weather may interfere with WSSL's game schedule.
Jewelry Is Unsafe
We have an absolute prohibition on players of any age wearing any form of jewelry other than medical bracelets. This ban includes, in particular, studs worn in newly pierced ears (or other body parts). NO EXCEPTIONS!! No one has authority to waive this rule. Medic Alert bracelets may be worn, but must be taped down for the safety of all players.
There is increased concern nationwide for concussion injuries. AYSO provides the following guidance.
In response to increasing concerns about the potential risks associated with concussions and to these new state laws, the AYSO National Board of Directors launched a Concussion Task Force to develop recommendations for AYSO Regions and families. They include:
- Use of the AYSO/CDC Concussion Information Sheet to inform all parents and players about the signs and symptoms of concussion and the associated risks. Find the Information Sheet at: http://www.ayso.org/resources/safety.aspx
- Encourage ALL coaches, referees, and Section, Area and Region Board Members to take the CDCâ€™s free online Concussion Awareness Training at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html or soon to be available at www.aysotraining.org. Volunteers who take the course on the CDC website should print a copy of the Certificate of Completion and forward it to the Safe Haven Department at the National Office where training records will be updated.
- Any player suspected by the coach, referee or parent to have a concussion must be removed from further participation for at least the remainder of the day, and
- Parents should be encouraged to seek professional medical treatment at the time of injury and secure medical clearance before being allowed to return to play. In all cases, AYSO will require the parent to sign a new Participation Release Form which includes a concussion waiver confirming that the player has been given the appropriate clearance to return to play.
In addition, please remember:
- Coaches are required to complete an AYSO Incident Report whenever a concussion has been suspected and turn it into the Safety Director.
- The Safety Director must forward a copy of the AYSO Incident Report to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure the injured playerâ€™s parents are informed about AYSOâ€™s Soccer Accident Insurance.
- Coaches must require a signed Participation Release Form from the parent/guardian before a player having a concussion or suspected of having a concussion is allowed to return to play. Parents should always be encouraged to seek appropriate medical care and medical clearance.
- The signed Participation Release and any Medical Release must be given to the Safety Director and forwarded to email@example.com.