Important Safeguarding and Compliance updates
Jan. 30, 2023
US Club Soccer is encouraged by the preliminary actions of U.S. Soccer related to the recommendations in the Sally Q. Yates report. We have advocated for and support the concept of centralizing safeguarding efforts among the entire U.S. Soccer ecosystem, to include the Safe Soccer Program, and we look forward to collaborating with U.S. Soccer and its Organizational Members, board, task forces, and, of course, our members to enhance participant safety. We also want to acknowledge the work of US Club Soccer CEO Mike Cullina, who serves as Vice Chair on the U.S. Soccer Yates Implementation Committee, and COO Greg Hutton, who serves on the U.S. Soccer Participant Safety Task Force.
With consideration to U.S. Soccer’s announcement, we want to share recent actions approved by our Board of Directors in October:
- US Club Soccer will implement the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) standard for background screening effective with the upcoming 2023-24 registration year. As announced as part of U.S. Soccer’s Safe Soccer initiative, all U.S. Soccer Organization Members will be required to implement this heightened standard in the next few years with incremental steps prior to that. US Club Soccer has elected to expedite the process and implement the new standard in conjunction with its staff registration process during the upcoming season. The USOPC standard is similar to our current level of background screening but with a few additions and mid-cycle partial check. Implementation details will be shared in forthcoming membership communications.
- Updated policy to recognize U.S. Soccer coach license suspensions as disqualifications from US Club Soccer with immediate effect.
- Formalizing and committing resources to a dedicated Safeguarding and Compliance Department. US Club Soccer is currently hiring for a Safeguarding and Compliance Manager, which will be followed by additional resources focused on audit and compliance. In addition to day-to-day management of issues, a focal point of the department is providing additional support and resources to members, and continually refining policies and procedures.
- Implemented an industry-leading case management software system, which aids our ability to manage reported concerns and will provide important analytics, enabling us to understand trends and areas necessitating further review.
- A comprehensive review of US Club Soccer’s policy manual is underway, and we remain committed to continually refining our policies and procedures, of which significant updates and modernization have been made.
- Begun planning for auditing and compliance efforts to include enhanced member organization compliance reviews focused on strong deterrents and consequences for clubs and club leadership who attempt to circumvent or are otherwise non-compliant with our policies and procedures, including those of U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. A heightened focus will be on the proper registration of all Adult Participants, and ensuring safeguarding information is publicly posted on member organization websites.
More specifically regarding the broader U.S. Soccer initiatives, we will push towards and believe the Safe Soccer Program can positively impact the U.S. Soccer ecosystem by:
- Consolidating background screening within U.S. Soccer, resulting in a higher (USOPC) standard for all Adult Participants and provide the potential for consistent risk management and discipline adjudication.
- Reducing duplication and costs in the certification process and creating portability for Adult Participants between Organizational Members, coach licensing and referee certification.
- Closing existing Response & Resolution jurisdictional gaps with the U.S. Center for SafeSport. (Currently, Adult Participants who are only members of US Club Soccer – or any national member of U.S. Soccer – and do not hold a U.S. Soccer coach license are not subject to Center’s Response & Resolution jurisdiction.)
- Centralizing reporting & response efforts will allow for the pooling of expertise and resources, simplify the reporting and response procedures for all involved, and reduce the reviews/investigations currently conducted separately by different Organization Members.
- Establishing a centralized, public “eligibility” database in which parents or others are able to determine whether a coach or other Adult Participant working with Minor Athletes has completed Safe Soccer certification.
- Providing expanded trainings and educational resources available to all participants, including players, parents, coaches, referees, and support staff.
With the understanding that the Safe Soccer Program is a significant undertaking with a multi-year rollout, US Club Soccer anticipates taking advantage of it within the U.S. Soccer Learning Center as soon as the technology and seasonal considerations allow. At this point, we anticipate that being ready for the 2024-25 registration year.
Thank you for being a member of US Club Soccer, and most importantly, for your diligence of participant safety.
ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.
Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike, DICK'S Sporting Goods and Gatorade.