Policy Statement and Definitions


US Club Soccer has zero tolerance for abuse or misconduct. US Club Soccer is committed to providing a safe environment and preventing abusive conduct in any form.

For the purposes of the policies set forth in Section 13 and Appendices A and B (collectively, “Participant Safety/Risk Management Policies”), as well as elsewhere in the Policy Manual, the following terms have been adopted:

  • Activities within US Club Soccer’s jurisdiction: This includes not only activities directly operated by US Club Soccer, but also sanctioned and related activities operated by Member Organizations, including, but not limited to, practices/training, scrimmages, sanctioned league and tournament activities, team travel, applicable off-field activities and other In-Program Contact.

  • Adult Participant: Any adult (18 years of age or older) US Club Soccer or a Member Organization authorizes, approves or appoints to have Regular Contact with or authority over Minor Athletes in activities within US Club Soccer’s jurisdiction. There are two types of Adult Participants: 1) Direct Adult Participant (“DAP”); and 2) Third-party Adult Participant (“TPAP”).

    Without limitation, individuals in the following roles are considered Adult Participants:

    • US Club Soccer staff and Board of Directors (DAP)
    • Member Organization Board of Directors (DAP)
    • Member Organization executives, directors, coaches, managers, administrators and other staff who have Regular Contact with or authority over Minor Athletes, regardless of whether the individual is an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer (DAP)
    • Players age 18 or older on a team with a Minor Athlete (DAP)
    • id2 / PDP staff and coaches (DAP)
    • Anyone traveling as a member of a team delegation (DAP)
    • Sports medicine/health care professionals/athletic trainers (DAP if part of Member Organization; TPAP if contracted from hospital, healthcare system or similar organization)
    • U.S. Soccer Federation-registered referees (TPAP)
    • Referee assignors, coordinators or other referee staff having Regular Contact with Minor Athletes (DAP or TPAP)

  • Authority: When one person’s position over another person is such that, based on the totality of the circumstances, they have the power or right to direct, control, give orders to, or make decisions for that person. See also the Power Imbalance definition in the SafeSport Code.

  • Close-in-Age Exception: An exception applicable to certain policies when an Adult Participant does not have authority over a Minor Athlete and is not more than four years older than the Minor Athlete. This exception only applies to US Club Soccer’s Prevention Policies (Policy 13.05 & Appendix B).

  • Direct Adult Participant (DAP): Any Adult Participant who is directly affiliated with US Club Soccer or a Member Organization.

  • Dual Relationships: An exception applicable to certain policies when an Adult Participant has a dual role or relationship with a Minor Athlete and the Minor Athlete’s parent/guardian has provided written consent at least annually authorizing the exception.

  • In-Program Contact: Any contact (including communications, interactions, or activities) between an Adult Participant and any Minor Athlete related to participation in sport. Examples of In-Program Contact include, but are not limited to, competition, practices, camps/clinics, training/instructional sessions, pre-/post-game meals or outings, team travel, review of game film, team- or sport-related relationship-building activities, celebrations, award ceremonies, banquets, team- or sport-related fundraising or community service, sport education or competition site visits.

  • Minor Athlete: Any individual under 18 years old who participates in activities within US Club Soccer’s jurisdiction. This includes, but is not limited to, players, coaches and referees who are minors.

  • Participant: Includes 1) Adult Participants; 2) Minor Athletes; 3) Member Organization employees; and 4) any other individual registered with US Club Soccer or otherwise involved in activities within US Club Soccer’s jurisdiction.

  • Personal Care Assistant (PCA): An Adult Participant who assists an athlete requiring help with activities of daily living (ADL) and preparation for athletic participation. This support can be provided by a Guide for Blind or visually impaired athletes or can include assistance with transfer, dressing, showering, medication administration and toileting. PCAs are different for every athlete and should be individualized to fit their specific needs. When assisting a Minor Athlete, PCAs must be authorized by the athlete’s parent/guardian.

  • Regular Contact: Ongoing interactions during a 12-month period wherein an Adult Participant is in a role of direct and active engagement with any Minor Athlete(s).

  • Third-party Adult Participant (TPAP): Any Adult Participant that is not directly affiliated with US Club Soccer or a Member Organization. (Example 1: Athletic trainers from a hospital/healthcare system that a Member Organization uses for a game(s). Example 2: U.S. Soccer Federation-registered referees, or referee assignors having regular contact with Minor Athletes.)

All Participants are responsible for knowing and complying with all US Club Soccer Bylaws, Policies and Rules (including those guidelines and directives on the US Club Soccer website) in addition to all applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations and any applicable Member Organization policies and rules. Member Organizations are responsible for ensuring their own Participants comply with US Club Soccer’s Participant Safety/Risk Management Policies.

Limited exceptions to the Participant Safety/Risk Management Policies may be granted by US Club Soccer on a case-by-case basis where appropriate, provided that such exceptions do not materially impact athlete safety.