Return to Play
As we navigate these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Loudoun NFL Flag/NVA Sports believes it is important for our youth to get back to sports. The chief goal of the plan below is to get our youth back onto teams where they build relationships with others and back onto the field where they can play the sport they love so much, while doing everything we as a community and league can to keep them, their coaches, our staff, and their families safe. Many authorities were accessed in the creation of this plan: NFL Flag, CDC, VA Department of Health, USA Football, the White House, and more.
Final note: as things change around the world so also this document may also have to change. Any change to procedure will be sent to parents via email to update them on the change.
Loudoun NFL Flag Football Rules and Alterations
- Loudoun NFL Flag is an NFL Flag league with slightly altered rules to better fit our community. Our rule books can be found at the link below.
- Loudoun NFL Flag is not a blocking flag league like Ultimate Flag, which has players wearing helmets and pads and blocking each other, is. Players are spaced out for route running purposes. Once an offensive player has possession of the football beyond the line of scrimmage, all other offensive players must come to a complete stop. There is no offensive line in our flag football, just the center to snap the ball and then he to runs a route.
- Games will be played 5v5, instead of 6v6, to incorporate less players on the field at a time. This will be coupled with smaller team sizes (8 players when possible).
- Teams will not be permitted to huddle between plays.
- Teams will use their own equipment and it will be sanitized between drives by a team manager on the sideline.
- Per VA State guidelines, fields will hold no more than 50% of the certificate of occupancy with no more than 250 individuals per field.
Loudoun NFL Flag Football Precautions and Requirements
- Signs will be posted at all fields to encourage spectators to wear masks, constantly wash and sanitize hands, and to practice social distancing between families.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at all league events.
- Coaches will be given a weekly Team Health Check Form at the start of the season. Prior to each practice and game, the coach will go through a series of required health check questions with every player on the team, including themselves, and record it on the form. This chart will be turned in to Commissioner Michael at the end of each week.
- All players will need to wear a mask when they attend practices and games until the coach has given them permission to remove their mask after the check-in.
- Players should take their temperatures at home before attending a league event. If the temperature is over 100.3, they are not allowed to attend the event.
- All athletes will be required to sign a COVID -19 waiver (parent signature) prior to the start of the season. This is a requirement in order to take part in league events.
- When using fields provided to the league by PRCS, members and staff will adhere to all of their Return to Play guidelines.
- Team sizes will be reduced to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 with a max of 10 players on a team, 8 players where possible.
- Fewer teams will be scheduled to practice on the same fields which will allow teams the space to spread out and practice appropriate social distancing during drills.
- The game schedule will have breaks built in-between games to allow for the families from the previous games to vacate the field prior to the next group of families coming to observe. Families should wait in their car until the start of their child’s game and should not bring extra individuals to spectate. Families will also be asked to exit the field immediately after their child’s game and not to stay and socialize.
- Teams will need to have an individual whose job it is to wipe down player’s flags and the team football when they come to the sideline between drives.
- There will not be a coin toss to start games. The home team will start the first half on offense and the away team will start the second half on offense.
- All athletes will be required to sign a COVID -19 waiver (parent signature) prior to the start of the season. This is a requirement in order to take part in the season.
- Any athlete that is experiencing symptoms and/or has a temperature of over 100.3 or has come in contact with someone experiencing symptoms is not permitted to attend league events. Families should check the temperature of their child frequently during the season.
- Athletes will be given their own personal flag which they should label with their name. This flag is theirs for the remainder of the season and they should clean it before and after events. It should never be shared with another player.
- Sharing food or water bottles is not permitted among athletes. Players water bottles need to be labelled.
- Teams will not take part in a postgame handshake but will instead perform a round of applause or some other method of sportsmanship while social distancing.
- Players that are on the sideline will be required to practice social distancing of at least 10 feet. There will be specific marks on the ground with either field paint or cones to mark where a player is to put their gear and stand when on the sideline. This will be within the 6 yard box that goes around the field that parents will be required to sit behind.
- Athletes will not be required to wear face coverings, but they are permitted to.
- Athletes should refrain from playing with their mouth guard during games and should wash them after each use.
- Spectators of the two teams will be seated on opposite sides of the field and should maintain at least 6 feet of social distance between themselves and the next family.
- Spectators will be required to stay behind a painted line that is 6 feet from the sideline at all times.
- Any spectator that is experiencing symptoms and/or has a temperature of over 100.3 or has come in contact with someone experiencing symptoms is not permitted to attend league events.
- Families should wait in their car until the start of their child’s game and should not bring extra individuals to spectate (family friends). Families will need to exit the field immediately after their child’s game.
- Families should not enter onto practice fields but return home or, if they must stay, to observe the practice from their car or observe from a great distance.
- Face coverings are always recommended while at league events, especially if social distancing is not possible.
- Any coach, official, or staff member that is experiencing symptoms and/or has a temperature of over 100.3 or has come in contact with someone experiencing symptoms is not permitted to attend league events.
- Coaches will need to adhere to 6 feet of social distancing during league events.
- Coaches are required to wear masks at all league events (assessments, practices, and games).
- While all coaches love to encourage players with a high five or a pat on the back, coaches should not do so for the time being but instead continue to encourage them verbally or with positive hand signals, like a thumbs up.
- Huddles are not permitted. Coaches will call plays from the sidelines instead of gathering the players into a huddle.
- Coaches will be given two extra flags to start the season to be used as backups should a player forget theirs at home. The coach will be responsible to clean these flags after they are used while the players are responsible to clean their own.
- Officials will not be required to wear masks, but it is permitted for them to do so.
- Officials should maintain as much distance from players as possible and should not handle any player’s equipment. Only officials should handle league equipment like pucks, cones, pylons, the scoreboard, etc.
- Point of contact for all COVID-19 related questions and the individual who is responsible for the Return to Play plan is Michael Dober (Commissioner and Administrator of Loudoun NFL Flag; NVA Sports).