(1)An athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or other head injury in an athletic activity shall be immediately removed from the athletic activity for the remainder of the day, and shall not be permitted to return to any athletic activity until he or she is evaluated by a licensed health care provider. The athlete shall not be permitted to return to athletic activity until he or she receives written clearance to return to athletic activity from a licensed health care provider. If the licensed health care provider determines that the athlete sustained a concussion or other head injury, the athlete shall also complete a graduated return-to-play protocol of no less than seven days in duration under the supervision of a licensed health care provider.

(2) If an athlete who is 17 years of age or younger has been removed from athletic activity due to a suspected concussion, the youth sports organization shall notify a parent or guardian of that athlete of the time and date of the injury, the symptoms observed, and any treatment provided to that athlete for the injury.

(3) On a yearly basis, the youth sports organization shall give a concussion and head injury information sheet to each athlete. The information sheet shall be signed and returned by the athlete and, if the athlete is 17 years of age or younger, shall also be signed by the athlete’s parent or guardian, before the athlete initiates practice or competition. The information sheet may be sent and returned through an electronic medium including, but not necessarily limited to, fax or electronic mail.

(4)  On a yearly basis, the youth sports organization shall offer concussion and head injury education, or related educational materials, or both, to each coach and administrator of the youth sports organization.

(5)  Each coach and administrator shall be required to successfully complete the concussion and head injury education offered pursuant to paragraph (4) at least once, either online or in person, before supervising an athlete in an activity of the youth sports organization.

(6) The youth sports organization shall identify both of the following:

     (A)Procedures to ensure compliance with the requirements for providing concussion and head
           injury education and a concussion and head injury information sheet,as contained in
           paragraphs (3) to (5), inclusive.

     (BProcedures to ensure compliance with the athlete removal provisions and the return-to-play
           protocol  required pursuant to paragraph (1).

                (b) As used in this article, all of the following shall apply:
                     (1) “Concussion and head injury education and educational materials” and a “concussion
                            and head injury information sheet” shall, at a minimum, include information relating to
                            all of the following:

                            (A) Head injuries and their potential consequences.

                            (B) The signs and symptoms of a concussion.

                            (C) Best practices for removal of an athlete from an athletic activity after a suspected

                            (D) Steps for returning an athlete to school and athletic activity after a concussion or
                                  head injury.

                      (2) “Licensed health care provider” means a licensed health care provider who is trained
                            in the evaluation and management of concussions and is acting within the scope of
                            his or her practice.

                      (3) “Youth sports organization” means an organization, business, nonprofit entity, or a
                             local governmental agency that sponsors or conducts amateur sports competitions,
                             training, camps, or clubs in which persons 17 years of age or younger participate.

                      NOTEAB2007 does not apply to youth athletes 18 years of age and older

Individuals can be expected to be asked two questions by law,  if their dog is a service animal, and what form of service the dog was trained to provide, when seen at a field.  The party may answer the two questions and remain, or refuse to answer and leave the fields immediately.  If a party portrays a dog as a service animal, when it is not, they are violating state law, and have committed 'service dog fraud'.  Under California law, this is a misdemeanor, with up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.  Any individual found misrepresenting their dog as a service animal will be reported to authorities.  Their ability to attend District VIII games/practices will be directly affected by their misrepresentation.  


There is a legal and distinct difference between a 'service dog' and an 'emotional support dog'.  

A service dog is trained to help people with disabilities such as visual impairments, mental illnesses, seizure disorders, diabetes, etc.  Emotional support dogs provide their owners therapeutic benefits through companionship.  Service dogs have legal rights to be in the public with their owner, this legal right does not apply to emotional support dogs.  In January, 2021, United Airlines joined other airlines in not allowing emotional support dogs to fly for free.  This had been a growing trend for businesses in 2020, in removing the capability for an emotional support dog owner to attempt claiming the same rights that a service dog has.  This had been brought about due to abuse by owners of emotional support dogs, misrepresenting their dog to be a service dog.

The option to use a service dog is given under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local governments.   According to the ADA, service animals are  working animals, not pets.  They have been specifically trained to perform tasks related to the disabled person’s specific disabilities.  Simply having a disability isn’t reason enough to categorize your own dog as a service dog.

Emotional support dogs are covered under disability accommodation laws in regard to housing because they allow the person the “full enjoyment” of the residence.

However, emotional support animals  do not have to be accommodated in public facilities or privately owned stores, conveyances or other venues.

Summarized, the only dog allowed at soccer fields are 'service dogs', not 'emotional support dogs'.

June 12, 2020Cal North lifted the suspension of play that has been in place due to the COVID-19 virus and pandemic.  The final decision to get back on the field has been returned to local leagues and clubs in every district, county, and city.  The decisions leagues and clubs make to return to play must abide by and be done in conjunction with directives established by the State of California and local county health directors and departments.  Cal North has prepared a number of recommended guidelines & responsibilities to aid leagues and clubs in developing their own unique return to play protocols.

Leagues will be reopening in phases, which will be dictated by state/county rules, using the guidelines developed by Cal North.  The recommended guidelines & responsibilities created by Cal North were developed to hep the leagues formulate a reopening plan that matches the state/county conditions for their area.  These conditions may vary from county to county.  The general theme, across the U.S., is for leagues to initially operating in a 'training mode' only, with no scrimmages or games, avoiding interaction between players.  Scrimmages appear in the latter phases of operation.  A good portion of this also involves having no spectators during training sessions, with parents remaining away from the area.

The reopening of soccer will incorporate many health and safety procedures, to protect all from COVID spread, and will be unlike what has been experienced in the past.  These new procedures are being experienced across the country.  All parties will need to understand that their soccer organization is operating under difficult conditions, established by the COVID-19 virus, and all is being done to provide a safe environment for players and families.  State and local County rules will play a role in dictating as to what leagues can do.

To review theCal North Recommended Guidelines & Responsibilities:                

1. DO NOTargue with the referee/referees. They are ALWAYS right, even when they are “wrong”.  NO coach has ever won an argument with a referee. Do not put yourself at risk of being suspended because you confronted a referee before, during, or after a game.

2. It is YOUR responsibility to keep your players AND spectators under control before, during,
and following all Cal North sanctioned games.

3. All referees WILL make mistakes during the course of a game, that is part of the game.

4. Your “view” of a specific play will usually be exactly the opposite of what the center referee’s view is (Usually the referee is in the “center” of the field and you are on the “side” of the field). The referee will see fouls that you will not see and vice versa. Expect this and “live” with it.

5. Accept the calls, they will usually even out UNLESS one team is playing more aggressively than the other team.

6. If you observe one of your players beginning to play more aggressively than what is called for or at a more aggressive nature than what the other players are playing at OR your player is becoming “mouthy” towards the opposing player/players OR referee you should take action to control the player before the referee does.

7. Be sure that your players understand that DISSENT towards the referee is NOT ACCEPTABLE conduct from any player or team official at any level of Cal North sanctioned play.

8. IF, the referee is not calling fouls properly and those non-calls put your players in danger of being injured because of the referee’s “lack of control” of the game. You should ask the nearest assistant referee to you to request that the center referee “Tighten Up” the game. If the center referee does not comply in a reasonable amount of time with your request after being notified by the assistant referee of your concerns you should “abandon” the game by removing your team from the field and write a brief one or two page report to: Shirley Thompson, D8 Commissioner @ 1239 Adam Street, Tracy, CA  95376 . as to what your reasons were for abandoning the game. If you choose to abandon the game because the referee does not in your opinion have control of the game DO NOT get into a discussion with the referee about it after the game is over. STAY AWAY from the referee after the game, he/she does not want to hear your comments on their officiating ability. DO NOT abandon a game because of disputes/dissatisfaction about referee judgment calls regarding: Who’s throw in it is when the ball goes out of bounds; Whether it is a goal kick or a corner kick; Whether a player was off side or no, etc. You should only abandon a game when you feel the playing environment is dangerous for your players.

9. DO NOT discuss anything that took place during a game with the referee after ANY game:  Stay away from the referee/referees after a game. The referee does not want your opinion of his/her skills as a referee. (If you have negative comments about a referee they should be sent in writing to Shirley Thompson, D8 Commissioner @ 1239 Adam Street, Tracy, CA  95376 . If you choose to write a letter about the referee’s actions be specific in your letter as to what technical mistakes were made by the referee (Be sure that you know the rules of play before you write the letter). Give the date, time, age/gender group, location of the game, and the level of play. (I need to be able to find out who the referee was). Your remarks or actions towards a referee before, during or AFTER a game may lead to your suspension as a coach. Do not let your spectator/parents confront a referee during or after a game. You are responsible for their actions as well as your own behavior and you could be suspended for not controlling your spectator/parents.

Shirley Thompson, Cal North District 8 Commissioner
Sue Gonzales,Treasurer/ODP Coordinator




Cal North is committed to creating and maintaining a sports environment in which all youth and adult participants may participate in youth sports activities, programs, and competitions free from all forms of emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual misconduct. Consistent with U.S. Soccer Bylaw 212, Cal North is also required to, among other obligations;

  1. comply with applicable law and, in particular, the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (the “Sports Act”).

  2.  if the member recruits, trains, fields or funds soccer players, it must establish a risk management program to promote the safety and protect the welfare of participants.

  3. adopt policies prohibiting sexual abuse. Effective February 14, 2018, Public Law 115-126, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (the “SafeSport Act”), amends the Sports Act, and requires applicable amateur sports organizations (as such term is defined in the SafeSport Act, 36 U.S.C. § 220530(b))

  •      Comply with the SafeSport Act’s reporting requirements and prohibit retaliation by the applicable amateur sports organization against any individual who makes a report (36 U.S.C. § 220530(a)(1))

  •      Establish reasonable procedures to limit one-on-one interactions between an amateur athlete who is a minor and an adult (who is not the minor’s legal guardian) at a facility under the jurisdiction of the applicable amateur sports organization (36 U.S.C.§ 220530(a)(2)) .

  •      Offer and provide consistent training to adult members in regular contact with minor amateur athletes and, subject to parental consent, to members who are minors, regarding prevention and reporting of child abuse (36 U.S.C. § 220530(a)(3))

  •      Prohibit retaliation, by the applicable amateur sports organization, against any individual who makes a report of suspected child abuse. (36 U.S.C. § 220530(a)(4)).

The purpose of this policy is to require an Athlete and Participant Safety/Safe Soccer program as part of
 each Organization Member’s risk management program and set out standards for such a program.



Spirit Rule

 State of California

     Assembly Bill - AB2007


  U.S. Soccer

  Cal North


The following states the Cal North Heading Policy.  Take note that Cal North uses the U12 age group and down.  Some leagues use U14 and down for a no heading policy.  Contact your league to find out which they are using.

  • If a player is suspected to have a head injury the referee is instructed to stop play to allow for treatment/evaluation as needed

  • If the player leaves the field of play for additional evaluation, a substitution can be made in that moment

  • The player with the suspected head injury may not return to the game unless a Health Care Professional (HCP) or Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) has cleared the player

  • Any coach or parent insisting on returning the player to the game without approved clearance will result in the referee ending the game

  • Deliberate heading is not allowed in 4V4 games

  • If a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense

  • In a controlled and individual environment (where heading is an isolated skill being taught away from any form of opposition or other aspects of the game), the use of lightweight balls (foam, balloon, etc.) would be acceptable for teaching heading techinique.

A player suspected of having a concussion must be removed from play and may not return to play unless examined by a medical doctor/athletic trainer, who is qualified in concussion handling.  The Concussion Notification Form is to be filled out in duplicate and signed by a team official of the player’s team. The document should be emailed to MedicalClaims@calnorth.org.

If a parent/legal guardian of the player is present, have the parent/legal guardian sign and date the Form, and give the parent/legal guardian one copy of the completed Form. If the parent/legal guardian is not present, then the team official is responsible for notifying the parent/legal guardian ASAP by phone or email and then submitting the Form to the parent/legal guardian by email or mail.

When the parent/guardian is not present, the team official must make record of how and when the parent/legal guardian was notified. The notification will include a request for the parent/legal guardian to provide confirmation and completion of the Concussion Notification Form whether in writing or electronically.

The team official must surrender the player pass to a League representative upon injury. The player pass will not be returned until a Medical Release has been received by CalNorth.

League must send copy of Medical Release to Cal North office (1040 Serpentine Lane, Suite 201, Pleasanton, CA 94556).

Players may wear their jersey, but must not be in full uniform until the League has received the Medical Release and the pass has been returned to the team official. 

These rules apply to District VIII play in District Cup, and BML games.        

District VIII has a no animal policy for all games and practices.  This is for the safety of players and parents, and helps to protect all from liability issues, due to an incident with a pet.  Officials/league representatives will suspend a game, until a dog is removed from the fields.  The party may be subject to ejection, if they do not remove their dog.

The policy is focused at dogs, as this is the animal type that most people will bring to the fields, and it is the only animal qualified by law to be a 'service' animal.  Within this policy, District VIII allows for parties with registered service dogs to bring their dogs to the field.

 Cal North Athlete & Participant Safety Policy

District VIII has a playing rule for all games played.  This rule is named the 'Spirit Rule'.  No team is to score more than eight goals over their opponents goal score.        

Pets At Fields

The following concussion policies all center around the same theme, if a player is suspected to have a concussion, they are to be removed from play.  A player may only return to play if they are examined by a licensed doctor, or certified Athletic Trainer, and found free from concussion factors.  If concussion evidence is found, they must be medically treated, and must go through a 'return to play' program, and released to play by the treating doctor.

COVID Soccer Reopening Guidelines & Responsibilities

Rules & Policies