In 2017 while attending a United States Soccer Federation coaches licensing course, one of the FYSA instructors was giving us a lecture on how lucky we all are to play and coach soccer in the state of Florida. He stated: “We’re so lucky that we can hit the field 365 days a year, while in other states it’s too cold to do that 5-6 months a year”.
I said to another coach that was standing next to me that “the instructor can’t be serious” he agreed with me. Knowing well who I am, I didn’t bite my tongue and raised my hand: “Sorry coach, but how do you figure that we can play soccer all year round when it rains and storms every afternoon for at least 100 days a year and the humidity is insane for at least 150?”
I really wish I never said what I said, as his reaction was pretty negative and he personally put me through a series of testing just to find an excuse to drop me from the course.
Said that: Who has always lived in Florida, know well that these hot and sticky conditions have already been increasing since the 70’s and in the future, if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the rate they’ve been going, we’re going to see more and more dangerous heat conditions,
So, because we live in Florida, because we play soccer in Florida…
Our students get dehydrated if they do not replace body fluids lost by sweating in the boiling Floridian sun. Being even a little dehydrated can make a player feel bad and play less effectively. Dehydration also puts soccer players at risk for more dangerous heat illnesses.
Signs and Symptoms
◆ Dry mouth
◆ Being irritable or cranky
◆ Seeming bored or disinterested
◆ Excessive fatigue
◆ Player not able to run as fast or play as well as usual
◆ Move child to a shaded or air-conditioned area.
◆ Give him or her fluids to drink.
“When can I play again?”
A child may be active again as soon as he or she is symptom-free. However, it’s important to continue to watch the child.
Tips for Mom and Dad
◆ Before your child starts playing a sport, he or she should have a physical examination that includes specific questions about any history of heat illness.
◆ Tell your child’s coach about any history of heat illness.
◆ Make sure your child is properly hydrated before he or she heads out the door to practice or a game. Give your children their own water bottles.
◆ Make sure your child’s coach has your emergency contact numbers.
◆ Check that your child’s league/team has an emergency action plan.
Fluid breaks should be scheduled for all practices and become more frequent as the heat and humidity levels rise.
Add 5°F to the temperature between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from mid-May to mid-September on bright, sunny days.
A coach that can’t follow these basic guidelines deserves to be taken out back and beaten the crap out of. We live in Florida the third hottest state in the nation and by far the most humid. That’s a chemistry in making the above guidelines not an option!