Overview: Many SYA travel teams continue to train outdoors throughout the winter months. The following guidelines are for the safety of both coaches and players and should help determine whether sessions should be modified or canceled.
Factors to Consider: Fairfax County prohibits the use of turf field whenever there is snow or ice on the pitch. Users are not permitted to remove these, so at any time there is snow or ice on a field, practices there are canceled. The Wind Chill Factor should be considered. Based on temperature in combination with wind speed, amount of sun, and humidity, this figure is calculated to assist people in determining the relative discomfort to be reasonably expected by anyone planning prolonged time outdoors. While coaches’ discretion is the determining factor, we suggest that practices for the youngest players be suspended if the wind chill is below 30 degrees. Older teams, such as high school age groups, should also pay attention to this indicator when determining whether to conduct sessions. Please note that SYA Soccer reserves the right to cancel all sessions for teams on evenings when the club determines that field or weather conditions suggest such a course of action is in the best interest of all players and coaches.
Cold Weather Attire: SYA encourages all players and staff to dress appropriately. In cold weather, warm-up pants, jackets, sweatshirts and UnderArmour are recommended. Additionally, gloves or mittens and hats, scarves, or ear-bands are suggested as the head and outer extremities are among the first areas to lose body heat. Coaches are encouraged to speak to any players who are not appropriately dressed and determine whether they should be dismissed for safety’s sake.
Hydration plays a role in preventing hypothermia, as dehydrated bodies cannot regulate temperature in cold weather in the same sense that dehydration causes problems in extreme heat. Teams should take regular water breaks no matter the temperature.
Practices may be shortened at the coach’s discretion. All warm-ups should be of appropriate length to fully prepare players for training, and sessions should include minimal periods when players are not moving.