Limited COVID-19 spread during outdoor youth sports in San Diego

I’ve pasted below the introduction to a study recently completed and released by Surf Sports. They say it offers a path forward for all outdoor youth sports in San Diego.

Here’s a link to the full white paper.

Outdoor play opportunities have definitely decreased, so we are keeping our ear to the ground, trying to help parents decided how best to get kids outdoors. I hope this information helps.

By the way, the survey funders and participating clubs have a clear financial interest in the outcome. That doesn’t mean they twisted the results or were anything less than careful and objective and professional. Just thought you should know.

John Gartman


Study offers path forward for San Diego County to safely reopen outdoor youth sports

DEL MAR, CA, August 14, 2020 – Today Surf Cup Sports is announcing the results of an eight-week study analyzing the safety of outdoor youth soccer in San Diego County. The county’s top youth soccer clubs, led by Surf Cup Sports, have taken the lead on studying the impact of COVID-19 transmission within outdoor youth sports – specifically soccer.

6,560 players and 263 coaches from 6 soccer clubs located across San Diego County, from Oceanside to Chula Vista, participated in the study. Over the course of eight weeks 143,000 soccer sessions were analyzed and only 15 (.01%) confirmed cases were found. For each of the identified cases, all were found to have been transmitted outside of the soccer sessions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the physical and mental health of kids across San Diego County,” said Brian Enge, CEO, Surf Cup Sports. “The positive value of youth sports has never been more crystal clear and this study indicates that when done correctly, a safe environment for outdoor youth sports is possible.”

With clearance to return to play on June 12, youth soccer clubs across San Diego County have been hosting onsite training sessions for teams weekly. With respect to soccer, early data suggests that the time spent in close proximity to other players during a soccer game is limited and falls far below the duration that is felt to represent sufficient exposure to result in viral transmission. Research and testing will continue, but initial results show promising signs that outdoor sports in large areas are safe for kids 6-18.

“We are safely ready for the next step in the County’s Return to Play planning. Training has presented a 0.0104% transmission and it’s our ask to add the variable of controlled game play to the current, safe environment we’ve created for our players,” said Josh Henderson, National Technical Director, San Diego Surf Soccer Club.

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