As the COVID-19 pandemic forces schools to close and social, arts, and sporting events to be canceled, soccer coaches and clubs across the country have worked hard to keep players connected and engaged. Through virtual practices, team challenges, YouTube channels and check-ins, coaches are staying connected to their players and have become sources of remote community in these uncertain times—when players need it most.
Soccer Without Borders created the Stay Home Season to create a sense of belonging and to support healthy habits and mental health among youth across the country. During a time of increased youth isolation, Soccer Without Borders hopes to bring teams together virtually across borders in order to reintroduce structure, routine, and healthy competition into the lives of young people affected by this pandemic.
Enter the Stay Home Season.
WHAT IS THE STAY HOME SEASON?
The Stay Home Season is 5-week virtual season running April 28th-May 29th. Participating teams will be divided into separate divisions made up of at least 10 other teams. Teams will compete against each other by participating in their own virtual sessions led by the team's coach and by completing the weekly league-wide Social Impact Challenge provided by Soccer Without Borders.
Teams already engaged in virtual practices and virtual sessions can continue with their regular programming while now competing for prizes against other teams around the world. Teams who have not yet started virtual practices will now have guidance on how to lead these sessions and will have access to other coaches and teams who can share session plans and best practices.
Teams participating in the Stay Home Season will also commit to completing the weekly Social Impact Challenge. The weekly challenges are intended to add a social justice lens to the league and give players an opportunity to learn, connect, and give back during this time.
April 28, 2020
May 29, 2020
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The goal of the Stay Home Season is to increase engagement of our youth players.
HOW TO WIN: Teams compete against each other to have the highest percent attendance rate for virtual practices and completion rates of the weekly Social Impact Challenge.
MORE PARTICIPATION = MORE POINTS
STAY HOME SEASON PRINCIPLES
Teams commit to the
5-week long season.
Teams host at least one
virtual session per week.
Teams complete the league-wide Social Impact Challenge promoting service & connection every week.
We all need a sense of belonging and community.
Young people need structure in their days.
Fun, competitive, remote programming conducted indoors will keep our communities and young people safe.
Social isolation is necessary for public health, but can create mental health risks.
Young people need encouragement and incentives to connect with their teammates, to stay active and informed, and to contribute to others.
Competition can be channeled to encourage participation, connection, and giving back.
Young people want to feel part of something bigger.
A nation-wide soccer competition will support health and wellness during social isolation and help individual coaches stay connected to their players.
SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
This league is all about connection, positivity and staying safe and healthy. Soccer Without Borders staff use the following mantras to conduct our programs, and we ask that all teams adopt this approach to every aspect of the league, from conducting programs to reporting scores to celebrating:
WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE HERE
This season is designed to include everyone, no matter your age, gender, skill-level, or any other typical differentiator for organized sport. We believe that this season can bring people from all backgrounds together, particularly those who otherwise would not compete against each other.
KNOW THE THINGY THING
We must be sensitive to the differences in experiences between people at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the inequalities that exist in our world. If we have privileges, such as good health and internet access, we will strive to find ways to support others who do not.
YOU PLAY BEST WHEN YOU'RE SMILING
We believe that smiling and having fun is one of the most important things that we can do to stay healthy and positive, both on and off the field. Taking care of ourselves and others in our community is the inspiration for this Stay Home Season.
CELEBRATE THE PASS MORE THAN THE GOAL
We all love competition and winning; however, they are not the main objectives of this season. We want to celebrate the new experiences that this season can create for us, including getting to know our teammates better, competing against those we otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to, and serving causes larger than ourselves.
LEAVE YOUR SHOES AT THE DOOR
We are humble in our approach to serving others. We leave our assumptions at the door, and are curious to learn from those who are different from ourselves, or who may be impacted differently by COVID-19.
GET THEM TO THE FIELD
We encourage our teammates to participate in this season, knowing that the more players who participate, the more that everyone benefits from this experience. We seek to support teammates who must overcome additional barriers to their participation in the Stay Home Season.