Weather Policy

Weather conditions are the responsibility of the game officials, coaches, and club administrators. All should be aware of the potential dangers posed by different weather conditions and work together to keep the players and other participants as safe as possible. If the weather conditions warrant, game officials and coaches should discuss before the game starts what the procedures will be to insure the safety of the players. Coaches, club administrators, and game officials should monitor weather conditions including the warnings and watches issued by the National Weather Service.

Technology has improved the monitoring capability for all concerned. Lightning detectors can take the guesswork out of how far away lightning is. One World Soccer has a lightning detector at the fields that should be used in ALL instances of possible inclement weather conditions.

In ALL cases, One World Soccer will keep the safety of its players, members, and all persons and spectators as its highest priority.

Severe Storms

Severe storms can produce high winds, heavy rain, hail, lightning, thunder and/or tornados. If a severe storm approaches the playing area, the safety of the players is the number one priority of coaches and referees, and may require that the game be suspended while shelter is sought. In the event the game is suspended, ALL participants MUST clear the field immediately and move into their cars or other permanent shelter.

Lightning and Thunder

Lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths (flooding is first). Lightning can strike up to 10 miles outside of a thunderstorm, literally a bolt from the blue. The danger from lightning can persist for 20-30 minutes or more after a thunderstorm has passed. The National Weather Service does not issue watches or warnings for lightning by itself. However, One World Soccer makes use of a lightning detector that can advise of storms and lightning up to 40 miles away.

If a person can hear thunder, or see lightning, the danger already is present. A clear, sunny sky overhead with storm clouds nearby can still be dangerous.

Referees and Coaches should adhere to the following:

  • If lightning is detected within 8-20 miles by the lightning detector, Coaches and club administrators should use this information, along with local weather forecasts, and radar patterns to determine if play should be suspended.  If there is any doubt, One World Soccer will keep the safety of players, parents, and officials its highest priority.  Play MUST be suspended until there is no danger detected for 30 minutes.
  • If lightning is detected by the lightning detector any closer than its setting of 8-20 miles, play MUST be immediately suspended and the field should be cleared for no less than 30 minutes from the last detection of lightning.
  • One World Soccer recommends that participants seek immediate shelter in their automobiles or a designated severe weather shelter, if there is one nearby. Smaller, open structures, tents, trees, isolated areas, etc, should be avoided. Cars, with windows rolled up or buses, can provide good shelter. Avoid contact with metal or other conducting materials to the outside surfaces. Do not stay in open, unprotected areas.
  • Games should not be restarted for at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike is seen or detected and/or roll of thunder is heard.

Hot Weather

Heat is a problem when it prevents the body from cooling itself. The hotter the body gets, the more likely it is to increase fatigue levels, develop cramps and increase the possibility of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The hotter and more humid the weather, the faster these problems can develop. Temperatures as low as 65 degrees, with a relative humidity of 100%, can be serious.

1. The below heat index chart will help One World Soccer determine the severity of the heat and plan accordingly.

2. Games/Trainings need to be adjusted as the heat index rises:

a. Mandatory water breaks for games and no more than 20 minutes between breaks for training.
b. Go to quarters for games.
c. Shorten the games or training sessions.

3. Provide training to coaches to teach the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Club administrators and Coaches are responsible for monitoring the heat index (by weather radio, online or the Weather Channel) and keeping the participating teams and game officials informed of the heat index.  The following guidelines will be used by One World Soccer when there is a possibility of a dangerous heat index:

Heat Index Recommendations
Up to 89° Normal Play
90° – 99° Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time.
100° – 105° Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time. Each half may be shortened by 5 minutes. Mandatory training breaks every 20 minutes.
105°+ Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time. Mandatory shortening of halfs by 5 minutes. Mandatory training breaks every 20 minutes and MUST shorten training session duration.

Cold Weather

For fall play, cold becomes a factor. Players should be allowed to dress in appropriate clothing. Field conditions will be affected by freezing temperatures, rain, freezing rain, and occasionally sleet and snow. The ground may become frozen and be unsafe for play. Temperature means either ambient (still air) or wind chill index. One World Soccer will check weather patterns and forecasts frequently for temperature and weather conditions.

Cold Index


50° and higher

No Change

49° and lower

Allowable Additional Clothing:

  1.      Layered beneath uniform (for example)
    – long sleeves
    – long Pants
    – additional socks
  2.      Gloves or mittens
  3.      Stocking caps without straps
  4.      Sweat pants or shirts
    In the case of extremely cold weather, may be worn underneath the uniform, provided the entire team uses the same color sweats
  5.      Jackets
    may be worn under the uniform so that referees can see the player’s number in the event of a card being issued.

Clothing NOT Allowed:

  1.      Hooded sweatshirts
    – hoods and strings present possibility of being grabbed
  2.      Ear muffs (headbands OK)
    plastic or metal part crossing top of head presents potential hazard
  3.      Scarves

40° and lower

  1.      May shorten games up to 5 min/half

35° and lower

  1.      May suspend games