PA West Lightning & Field Safety Guidelines


Lightning is the number one weather hazard for athletic events. The following guidelines should be used to prevent tragedy from striking your soccer club.

  1. Monitor weather conditions prior to your match. Know what the weather forecast predicts for your area.
  2. Suspension and resumption of games should be planned for in advance when weather could include lightning. The coaches and referees should discuss the possibility of lightning prior to kick-off and know what to do should lightning force the suspension or cancellation of the match.
  3. Players and spectators should be advised to use SAFE evacuation sites in the event of lightning.
    1. Enclosed buildings with substantial construction
    2. Fully enclosed metal vehicles with windows up.
    3. Low ground.
  4. Use the lightning safety motto: “If you see it, flee it; if you hear it; clear it.”
  5. If caught by close-in lightning without immediately available SAFE evacuation site…(if you can feel your hair standing on end and/or hear crackling noises)…immediately remove all metal objects, place your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low.
  6. Once a game has been suspended for weather…wait 30 minutes following the last visible lightning striker or thunderclap before returning to the field.
  7. UNSAFE SHELTER AREAS: Under bleachers, picnic pavilions, grove of trees, small structures in open areas. Avoid water, Avoid metal objects, Avoid open fields.
  8. People have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to handle. Apply first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so. Get emergency help promptly.

Please note: these are general guidelines and it is recommended you consult your club’s procedures for lightning for specific guidelines when dealing with weather related hazards.


Secure Goals

Secured Goals And Safe Field Surface Provide Safe Practice And Games
Players rely on their coaches for just about everything, and that includes safety practice and game fields. It’s the coaches’ responsibility to make sure goals are properly anchored and the playing surface is safe, no potholes or sharp objects. Here are some guidelines for both areas of responsibility.

Goal Post Safety:

1) Portable goals should always be properly secured and anchored; use only on level playing fields. Remember spring winds can blow over an unsecured goal in an instant.
2) Inspect goals for sharp corners and general integrity (strength).
3) Instruct all players and parents of the potential dangers associated with movable goals.
4) Forbid any horseplay by players or members of the general public on or around any goal (permit or portable).
5) Remove nets when goals are not in use.
6) Portable goals should only be moved by authorized personnel.
7) Portable goals should be secured in a safe place when not in use.


Field Safety:

1) Inspect for foreign objects before every practice and game.
2) Check for potholes, ruts and bumps.
3) Make sure sprinkler heads are properly seated.
4) Observe a three-foot restraining line from the touchline. Remind spectators of this as well.
5) Notify your club and field owners of unsafe field conditions in writing.
6) Do not allow participation by your players until noted hazards have been corrected.

PLEASE NOTE: These guidelines offer a sketch of proper safety practices; please consult your club’s specific guidelines to insure safe and fun practice and game fields.