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New Jersey Youth Soccer

Statement on Athlete and Participant Safety Program

NJ Youth Soccer Association has developed this Athlete and Participant Safety Program as part of the NJYS Risk Management Program. The Athlete and Participant Safety Program was developed in order to meet requirements set forth by Public Law 115-126 Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (the "SafeSport Act") as well as U.S. Soccer Federation Policy 212-3.

NJ Youth Soccer Association has zero tolerance for abuse or misconduct. All participants in the soccer community should play an active role in creating an environment that is free from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. This program was developed to implement policies and processes to help participants detect and report abuse, respond to it, and prevent future occurrences. In order to maintain compliance with USSF Policy 212-3, NJYS's Athlete and Participant Safety Program includes six key components: Background Screening Policy, Mandatory Reporting Policy, Training and Education Policy, Prohibited Conduct Policy, Policy to Limit One-on-One Interactions, and Policy on Monitoring and Enforcement. Also included is a list of definitions for key terms mentioned within these six policies.

This program uses the term "Covered Adults" to refer to those adults (aged 18 and older) to whom these policies apply. Covered Adults are required to follow all policies included in NJYS's Athlete and Participant Safety Program. Covered Adults include adult individuals (aged 18 and over) who are authorized directly by NJYS or indirectly by a member organization that is directly affiliated with NJYS to have:

  1. Routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor;
  2. Authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; or
  3. Authority over those adults who have routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor.

"Routine and/or regular contact" with an amateur athlete who is a minor is defined as recurring and repeated between an adult and a minor.

"Authority over those adults who have routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor" is defined as supervisory or decision-making authority over an adult who has recurring, repeated, or periodic contact with minors.

Examples of Covered Adults may include but are not limited to:

  1. NJYS board members;
  2. NJYS committee members;
  3. NJYS employees and independent contractors;
  4. Club and League Presidents, Club and League Officials, Club and League Administrators, and Club and League Volunteers;
  5. Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Team Managers, Asst Team Managers, Team Officials, and Team Trainers; and
  6. Referees*

*While Referees, Referee Coaches, Referee Mentors, Referee Assignors, and other Referee Program-Affiliated Personnel are expected to adhere to these policies due to referee involvement in NJYS sanctioned activities and competitions, it is understood that these individuals are also subject to any policies set forth by the NJ State Referee Committee and/or U.S. Soccer Policy.

Many aspects of this policy are issued in order to protect Minor Participants in the sport of soccer who participate in NJYS sanctioned activities and competitions. This policy uses the term "Minor Participants" to refer to athletes, referees, coaches, or otherwise, who are under the lesser of (1) the age of 18; or (2) the age of majority in the applicable state, and who are participating in NJYS sanctioned activities and competitions. Additionally, although this Athlete and Participant Safety Program focuses in many areas on concerns unique to Minor Participants, these policies may be applicable to and are designed to protect participants of all ages.

Should circumstances arise in which an activity or competition sanctioned by NJYS requires the use of adult volunteers and/or other adult individuals who 1) do not have routine and/or regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor, and 2) are authorized by NJYS and/or NJYS member organization(s) to act on the behalf of NJYS and/or NJYS member organization(s), the following will apply:

  1. Adult individuals that do not meet the definition of Covered Adults as described above should be prohibited from having one-on-one contact with Minor Participants.
  2. If such adult individuals that do not meet the definition of Covered Adults as described above have any contact with any Minor Participants, at least one Covered Adult (who is compliant with all policies included in NJYS's Athlete and Participant Safety Program) should hall be present and will supervise the NJYS sanctioned activity or competition to help ensure the safety of Minor Participants around such adult individuals that do not meet the definition of Covered Adults as described above.

As part of NJYS's Athlete and Participant Safety Program, NJYS encourages a culture of respect and open communication in which all participants feel comfortable reporting concerns, whether the concerns involve suspected abuse or any other misconduct. Participants are encouraged to raise concerns to coaches, referees, team administrators, and NJYS employees and board members.

In the event NJYS receives a report or complaint that implicates a reporting obligation to law enforcement authorities (see "Mandatory Reporting Policy"), NJYS will make the report directly to law enforcement and/or will work with the individual who submitted the report or complaint to make the report directly to law enforcement. NJYS does not tolerate retaliation of any kind. No individual who makes a good faith report of misconduct will be subject to retaliation, including harassment, as a result of making a report.

The NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program is not an exclusive statement of all policies and processes pertaining to NJYS and its affiliated leagues and programming. NJYS affiliated leagues and programs may implement additional policies and procedures specific to their operations. Furthermore, the NJYS Employee Handbook provides further guidance applicable to NJYS Employees on other matters to address conduct that may not be covered by the NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program.

NJYS recognizes that social norms continue to develop, as does the legal framework under which we operate. Accordingly, the NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program will always be subject to modification, amendment and further development by NJYS, in its discretion. The NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program and all policies herein may be amended from time to time by vote of the NJYS Board of Directors. Limited exceptions to these policies may be granted by NJYS on a case-by-case basis where appropriate, provided that such exceptions do not materially impact the safety of Minor Participants.

NJYS does not control the day-to-day operations of our direct member organizations or of those organizations that are indirectly affiliated with NJYS via membership or participation with any NJYS direct member organization. NJYS recognizes that individual club and league organizations range in size, structure, resources, operations, and stakeholder needs. Additionally, each organization may have different levels of risk based on very different programs. Accordingly, each organization is encouraged to conduct an independent assessment of its own practices and evaluate how best to implement its own risk management program that maintains compliance with NJYS's Athlete and Participant Safety Program, USSF Policy 212-3, and the SafeSport Act.

The NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program and these six policies are hereby issued as of October 20, 2019. To allow adequate opportunity to ensure policy changes and compliance, NJYS direct member organizations, and those organizations that are indirectly affiliated with NJYS via membership or participation with any NJYS direct member organization, are expected to maintain compliance with these requirements on or before December 1, 2019 (but are nonetheless urged to complete compliance as early as practicable). Effective December 1, 2019, any NJYS direct member organization, or any organization that is indirectly affiliated with NJYS via membership or participation with any NJYS direct member organization, not in compliance with the requirements set forth by the NJYS Athlete and Participant Safety Program may be subject to enforcement as provided the "Policy on Monitoring and Enforcement" of this program.

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New Jersey Youth Soccer

569 Abbington Dr, Suite 5
East Windsor, New Jersey 08520

Phone: 609-490-0725
Email: [email protected]

New Jersey Youth Soccer

569 Abbington Dr, Suite 5
East Windsor, New Jersey 08520

Phone: 609-490-0725
Email: [email protected]
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