we're ready for hot weather
In its 35-year tournament history, Target USA CUP has experienced just about every weather condition possible. Target USA CUP brings thousands of people to the National Sports Center (NSC) every July—and it coincidentally brings hot temperatures, too.
Target USA CUP staff is well-experienced in handling extreme weather, including hot temperatures. In fact, it is common to have at least one weather problem each year. Target USA CUP staff has extensive experience in evaluating weather conditions, making sure all players, coaches, referees and spectators stay safe throughout the tournament.
Dr. Steve Elias, who leads the Target USA CUP medical team, says staff is well-equipped to handle hot weather.
“Earlier in tournament history, we knew heat exhaustion was a problem. We knew we needed to minimize the problems people faced from heat,” said Elias. “This was at a time in sports when people did not recognize heat issues.”
Elias, along with other medical personnel, and the Target USA tournament directors made it a goal to properly handle hot weather.
“We conducted research with the heat measurements taken here and made guidelines for hot weather.”
Target USA CUP uses a four-flag system to rate temperatures. The health and safety of participants is a primary concern, so tournament officials and medical staff will evaluate heat exhaustion risks and fly the appropriate flag. Heat index flags are flown on the roof of the Welcome Center. Target USA CUP also communicates heat risks through usacup.org and Target USA CUP social media pages.
Green Flag – Normal play conditions. Follow regular conditions and allow free access to fluids.
Yellow Flag – Moderate heat conditions; 2-minute water break at the middle of each half is instituted. The clock is stopped during water breaks.
Modified Yellow Flag – Extreme heat conditions. Game shortened by 5 minutes per half. In playoff rounds, the overtime periods may be eliminated. Instituted water breaks continued.
Red Flag – Game length shortened. Please ask field manager or referee headquarters for protocol during red flag conditions.
Black Flag – Suspension of play. Inclement weather or other emergencies my cause suspension of games. Suspension does not mean cancellation of games. After a suspension is called, games may be restarted. In the event games are cancelled, games that have completed the first half of play are considered final.
The NSC utilizes a wet-bulb thermometer located at the top of the Welcome Center, which gives an accurate temperature on campus. The entire tournament is held on the NSC’s campus, unlike other large tournaments. This gives Target USA CUP the ability to provide accurate weather information.
“It’ll be humid this weekend. The higher the humidity, the less effective your body gets,” said Elias. “You sweat, but then it drips off you and you get dehydrated. You can’t be macho to the point where you can somehow defy physiology.”
In order to keep people hydrated throughout the tournament, there will be 23 Gatorade coolers filled with free Gatorade. These coolers will constantly be refilled by volunteers.
Target USA CUP provides an on-campus medical staff with doctors and full equipment. There are also trainers located throughout the campus to ensure all visitors make it home safe and healthy.
Here are some helpful tips to counter heat throughout USA CUP:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stay hydrated. There are seven indoor buildings throughout campus with water. There also outdoor water stations at the south end of field 24 and the north end of field 5.
- Find cool places between games. There are indoor buildings scattered throughout the NSC with air conditioning and water: The Super Rink, Sport Expo Center, Centerview Elementary School, Sports Hall, Welcome Center and the Victory Links Clubhouse. There are numerous local businesses for people to visit and cool off during breaks.
- Bring shade to games.
- Eat healthy meals.