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COVID-19 UPDATES AND INFORMATION

COVID-19 UPDATES AND INFORMATION

Governor J.B. Pritzker addressed the fate of high school sports, youth sports, and adult recreation sports in Illinois on July 29th during his covid-19 task force press conference. Specifically, starting on August 15th, Illinois will ask these groups to adhere to new restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. You can find the information regarding this announcement here: https://www.news-gazette.com/sports/pritzker-restrictions-on-ihsa-youth-sports-and-adult-recreation-sports/article_00ddeca2-efbf-524b-afdd-3c3948ba6c22.html 

In his debriefing, Pritzker cited three tiers of risk when categorizing sports — lower, medium, and higher. Pritzker's guidance also incorporates "Type of Play Levels," which are four levels of action permitted as "dictated by current public health conditions."

  • Level 1: No-contact practices and training only
  • Level 2: Intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play
  • Level 3: Intra-conference or intra-EMS-region or intra-league play/meets only; state- or league-championship games/meets allowed for low-risk sports only
  • Level 4: Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, multi-team meets, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed.

According to the document, lower-risk sports currently can be held at Levels 1, 2, and 3 awhile medium-risk sports are able to occur at Levels 1 and 2. Higher-risk sports can only happen at Level 1 right now. Soccer was rated as a medium risk that operates under level 1 and 2 meaning that intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; and no competitive play.

IYSA is working diligently with the Illinois Department of Public Health to further clarify the restrictions on youth sports and has developed a plan accordingly please see below. 

Take note that we now IFC must adjust our plans as needed for the fall season, but this certainly means no CIYSL or organized League games for the fall until we hear otherwise. IFC plans to take advantage of all permitted forms of competition and will be working rigorously with IYSA during this time. We will contact our membership once we have our official plan.

More information can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=21872

Please stay tuned for further information. We thank you for your patience at this time.

IFC and Covid-19

Illinois FC strives to provide timely updates for club families on the impact of the COVID-19 virus on club operations and youth soccer in the area.

In regard to phase 4 and returning to play, IFC has formulated our own set of biosecurity protocols. Please see the document below.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us by emailing the director of coaching at doc@illonoisfc.com, the club president at president@illinoisfc.com, or the club's administrator at admin@illinoisfc.com. Also, watch for club emails and check our Facbebook page https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisFC and Twitter feed @illinoisfc for updates.

Please note: IFC will amend and adapt these guidelines to better suit IDPH's restrictions on youth sports once we have more information. 

Covid-19 Resources and Youth Soccer


May 27--DOC SEARCH, FINANCES AND SUMMER PLANS

Dear IFC families-

As we have throughout the spring, your volunteer board has been thinking of you and hoping that you are healthy and safe during this difficult time. We write with an update regarding the club finances and our efforts to move the club forward with the hiring of a new Director of Coaching, summer programs, and tryouts for next year.

Club Finances

The outdoor Spring season has now been officially cancelled in full and along with it all the tournaments IFC teams were planning to compete in, including the IFC Spring Invite. The impact on our club finances is significant. The cancellation of the Spring Invite and the likely similar fate of the Fall Cup will decrease budgeted revenues coming into the club by ~$50,000 this calendar year. This loss of tournament revenue eliminated any cushion we might have had in club finances for 2020.

Over the past 5 years or so, the club has operated on a roughly break even status, relying on sponsorship revenues (e.g., Jimmy Johns) and the tournaments to help fund our operations alongside member dues. In February, the new Board had a strategic planning retreat, and one of our key initiatives for 2020-21 was to “Ensure long-term financial stability [and] create a self-sustaining structure for the club”. We agreed that the current model was not sustainable and needed to be changed. We had planned to discuss in more detail with all members at the IFC annual meeting early this Spring, but then COVID-19 hit.

We are working now to revise the overall cost structure of our operations with a goal of ensuring member dues will cover all operational expenses on an annual, so that funds garnered from tournaments and sponsorships can be used to help grow the club and expand the programs we have to offer our members. It would also allow funds to be set aside for rainy days such as the ones we are now experiencing.  

We were able to save some expenses this spring, but coaches and IFC staff have still been working to provide programming virtually. Our rent for Dodds is covered by the agreement to fund the lighting project, so we have not had any field rental savings. We requested tournament refunds and have received nearly all of those.

Although our club finances are currently stable, the uncertain future regarding the fall season could have serious consequences. Therefore, we are working hard on behalf of the club to take actions to secure its future. These include applying for potential US Small Business Administration (SBA) funding and the Payroll Protection Plan funds (part of the CARES Act). As needed, we will also consider other short- and long-term loan options.

Central to protecting the club’s future is ensuring that club members feel supported and loyal to the club. We hope your athlete and family felt supported by the virtual training provided this spring (and planned additional programming this summer – more on that later). We know, however, that some of you may be experiencing financial difficulties caused by the pandemic and we want to be responsive to those needs despite the Club’s uncertain future finances. Therefore, for those teams (all u11 and up age groups) that had tournaments cancelled this spring, we can adjust the spring dues to reflect the reduced expenses. Families may request those savings either as a credit applied to future dues or a partial refund by contacting the club administrator (admin@illinoisfc.com). Refunds or credits will be the difference between the amount of dues paid and a spring dues baseline of $65/month. If you are able, we ask that you not request a refund or credit and consider the tournament fees a donation to the club.

Summer and Fall IFC Progams

We are happy to report that at-home training via the Techne app and video conferencing with coaches will continue through the end of June. Looking toward the summer and fall, as you likely have seen central Illinois is expected to move into Phase 3 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan at the end of this month. Just this past week, new information was published on what Phase 3 will look like and the Illinois Youth Soccer Association has also published guidelines on what is permitted during this Phase. Here are further guidelines on youth sport from the state Depart of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. There are very strict health and safety guidelines that the club will need to adhere to if we consider any programs during Phase 3.

The Champaign Park District have told us that Dodds Park soccer fields will not be available for team activities of any kind until Phase 4 (which will start, at the earliest, on July 1). We are actively planning optional club activities that we could offer in Phase 4, potentially including camp(s), small-sided scrimmages, private (individual or small group) training with IFC coaches, and agility training. (Note that IYSA plans to publish Phase 4 guidance by the 2nd week of June.)

The safety of players and coaches will continue to be at the forefront of our planning for any future activities, and as noted in the IYSA guidelines there is quite a lot of work we will need to do to ensure safety and compliance.

Club Tryouts

Club tryouts, originally scheduled for the first week of June, will need to be restructured. Plans will be developed that align with both Phase 3 and Phase 4 guidelines, with an eye toward tryouts taking place in July or early August. Virtual options, though not preferred, will also be considered and planned for. Keep an eye out for communications coming in the next 2 weeks about plans we are making for the second half of the summer.

Director of Coaching

We are excited to announce in the coming days the appointment of a full-time Director of Coaching. This hire follows an extensive search and hiring process over the past 2 months. Due to the uncertainty around club activities and finances as a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, we opted to pause the process of hiring for a Director of Operations. Assuming we are able to have something resembling a more normal fall season, we can then consider restarting the hiring process for that position.

Interim Club Administrator Tim Notz is leaving CU this summer, hence his last day as Admin will be Friday June 5th, so we will likely be looking for short-term administrative help as well.

If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to contact me or any other member of the Board. We’ll be happy to discuss.

Best,

Skip Maier
Illinois FC Board of Directors President
president@illinoisfc.com


APRIL 20: IN-PERSON CLUB EVENTS ON HOLD THROUGH MAY 15

The Illinois Youth Soccer Association (following guidance of US Youth Soccer) announced that all IYSA sanctioned activities will be suspended until at least May 15th. IFC will continue to follow these guidelines and hence our suspension of all in-person club activities will continue through at least May 15th. For teams scheduled to play in the Schaumburg tournament on May 22-25, there has not been a cancellation yet. When we hear updates about this tournament, or any other updates, we will pass that information on to the relevant teams and families.


APRIL 13: INTRODUCING TECHNE LEADER BOARDS!

Techne leader boards highlight the leaders each week in at-home training using the Techne app. Work hard and get your name on the board! Follow IFC social media -- @IllinoisFC on Twitter, https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisFC/ or @illinoisfc on Instagram. Or see the leaders at illinoisfc.com/techne


APRIL 6: ACTIVITIES NOW ON HOLD THROUGH APRIL 30

As you are likely aware, the governor has extended the state's Shelter-in-Place order through the end of April. IFC will thus extend our suspension of all in-person club activities through at least April 30th. 

Our coaching staff has set up at-home training activities, team video chats, and an app (Techne Futbol, see below or illinoisfc.com/techne ) to help our players continue to learn and develop, so I encourage you to review these if you haven't already.

-- Skip Maier, IFC president


MARCH 31: IFC HOME TRAINING WITH TECHNE FUTBOL BEGINS!

This is our first week of training with Techne Futbol which is very exciting news. We have seen a lot of involvement from our players so far and this is very positive for the club! As you get familiar with the app you will notice all the cool features it has. Techne posts a weekly session on their app, "This Week's Session," and players should train with this everyday.

For more details, go to illinoisfc.com/techne


MARCH 22: NEWS ON AT-HOME TRAINING, ANNUAL MEETING

In a letter from IFC President Skip Maier, the club announced:

  • The IFC Board has decided to suspend all in-person club activities through at least April 15th. The suspension of all in-person activities includes the club Annual Meeting, which had been scheduled for April 1st.
  • Interim DOC Luis Ramirez and our coaches have been working to develop at-home training plans and will host weekly phone/video chats with players and teams. A mobile application is also being set up that players and coaches can use to track progress and stay connected. A message from Luis will be coming over the next few days.
  • Please keep an eye out for other communications from the club and your fellow members via email, social media, and our website.

MARCH 14 -- ILLINOIS FC SPRING INVITE 2020 CANCELLED

 

IFC member families,

 

Following recommendations put forward by the US Centers for Disease Control and local and state health agencies and closure announcements by the University of Illinois among others, the IFC Board has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Spring Invite, which was scheduled to be hosted the weekend of May 1st to 3rd.

We are now in the process of communicating this decision to all those involved—vendors, partners, volunteers, and other clubs—and hope to have all parties informed by the beginning of next week.

This is disappointing for all of us, especially for the kids, and we are sad to have to take this action. The Board will be meeting again this coming week to make decisions about upcoming training schedules and other club events, and we will communicate any decisions to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you very much for your continued support and understanding. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Skip Maier
Illinois FC Board of Directors President
president@illinoisfc.com


MARCH 13: CIYSL GAMES

The statement below has been sent by CIYSL with regards to our league games this Spring. We are also monitoring the situation regarding training and tournaments this season, and will work hard to keep you informed of the updates and changes in the upcoming days.

Please be advised that as of 3/12/2020 US Soccer, United States Youth Soccer, and Illinois Youth Soccer Association
have suspended all activities through April 15, 2020. Coaching, and referee courses are suspended until April 30.

Since there is no liability insurance coverage for a Covid-19 exposure / infection CIYSL will also follow this postponement timeline.

No games are to be played until the April 19th weekend. If that date would change we will get info out to all clubs and teams. This mandate is for any open division teams as well. Looking at rescheduling options for the lost weekends and that will be communicated to all our teams at a later date.


MARCH 12, ILLINOIS YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION SUSPENDS ACTIVITIES: 

Based on the recent suspensions by US Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer, heightened travel concerns, and with the health of our soccer community in mind, all Illinois Youth Soccer run activities are suspended through April 15, 2020 and will be re-evaluated on an on-going basis.  US Soccer events including coaching and referee courses are suspended through April 30.  

These Illinois Youth Soccer activities include:

  • Coaching Education Courses (suspended thru April 30)
  • State Cup / Presidents Cup / Illinois Cup games
  • State Premiership matches
  • ODP team participation in tournaments

FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE http://www.illinoisyouthsoccer.org/covid-19-suspension-of-play


MARCH 12, IFC PRACTICES FOR 3-12 AND 3-13

After much deliberation, the Board of Directors has decided to cancel practices for the remainder of this week (3-12 and 3-13). We have been closely following the release of information from the Champaign County Public Health Department and their recommendations regarding how to potentially curb the spread of COVID-19. 

As we do not have any scheduled practices next week, we are hopeful that this will allow us to make appropriate decisions regarding our club's activities, without compromising anyone's health.  The health and welfare of our athletes and their families is our primary concern and we will continue to keep you all advised in that regard.