Weather Policy

In accordance with Mass Youth Soccer’s Weather Policy, the monitoring of weather conditions is the responsibility of 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.

This page may also be utilized and will provide quick access to lightning strike and heat index data from the National Weather Service.

Thunder and Lightning
Warm Weather
Cold Weather

We highly encourage all coaches to utilize one of the many apps available for phones and tablets that provide accurate and timely weather reports, forecasts and warnings. Lightning detectors can take the guesswork out of how far away lightning is. Cell phones and two-way radios can meet communication requirements to implement weather plans.

Thunder and Lightning

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 they do advise that if you see a lightning bolt and hear the thunder in 30 seconds or less, you seek shelter and wait 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activity.

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.

If lightning is within five miles, with or without hearing thunder, the game(s) or practice(s) should be suspended and shelter sought. A simple rule: If you can see it or hear it, clear it!

Mass Youth 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. Games should not be restarted for at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike is seen or roll of thunder is heard.

Weather and Lightning Strike Map »

Warm 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.

View Hourly Weather Forecast »

The following are recommended when there is a possibility of dangerous high heat index:

Heat Index
Up to 84°
Normal Play
85° – 89°
Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time.
90° – 99°
Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time. Each half shortened by five minutes.
100° – 104°
Mandatory two-minute water breaks per half with running time. Each half shortened by ten minutes.
Suspend Play

Tents and Pop-Ups

While hydration is the most important aspect to avoiding heat-related conditions, we understand some coaches and/or spectators may wish to provide shade or shelter for their players/spectators. For the safety of all players and spectators, tents and/or pop-ups may be erected only if the following guidelines are followed:

  • Distance from the field:
    • Team tents/pop-ups must be at least 5 yards (15 feet) away from the field touchline.
    • Spectator tents/pop-ups must be at least 10 yards (30 feet) away from the field touchline.
  • All tents/pop-ups must be secured with sandbags or other methods to prevent it from moving in any conditions (e.g. wind).
  • All tents/pop-ups must be erected based on the manufacturer’s instructions with no alterations to such information.
  • Teams will be responsible for providing their own tents/pop-ups.

Cold Weather

For fall play, cold weather becomes a factor. Players should be allowed to dress in appropriate clothing. Field conditions will be affected by freezing rain, sleet and snow and the ground may become frozen and be unsafe for play. Temperature means either ambient (still air) or wind chill index.

Cold Index
46° and higher
No Change
45° and lower
Allowable Additional Clothing:
  • Layered beneath uniform (for example)
    • long sleeves
    • long pants
    • additional socks
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Stocking caps without straps
  • 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
  • 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:
  • Hooded sweatshirts
    • hoods and strings present possibility of being grabbed
  • Ear muffs (headbands OK)
    • plastic or metal part crossing top of head presents potential hazard
  • Scarves
    • Isadora Duncan Syndrome
40° and lower
Above + Shorten games by 5 min/half
35° and lower
Suspend games