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2023 Goalball Season


  1. Applicability: These guidelines apply to adult teams participating in USABA-sanctioned tournaments during the calendar year 2023. These guidelines do not apply to non-sanctioned tournaments, youth programs, school conference goalball programs, or the 2023 National High School Goalball Championships. 
  1. Purpose: The purpose of USABA-sanctioned tournaments is to allow USABA members to compete in the sport of goalball at regional and national level events. 
  1. Team Roster Requirement: All USA and non-USA teams playing in USABA-sanctioned adult tournaments must have an approved team/program roster on file with USABA.  
  • By January 10, 2023, each team or program will submit (by email) a copy of the completed team roster (attached) to Linda Welborn at, which can include up to fifteen (15) athletes per team. USABA must approve any roster which contains more than 15 athletes. Email submissions that contain similar information will be accepted.  
  • If a team does not fill their entire roster by the deadline, they can make subsequent additions to their roster (up to the roster limit) by contacting Linda Welborn,  Teams must submit any new roster additions no later than one week prior to any USABA Sanctioned Tournament they enter, otherwise that athlete will have to compete in that tournament as a pool player.  
  • Teams are responsible for ensuring any individuals placed on their rosters meet athlete eligibility requirements as outlined in these guidelines.  
  • All other rules apply and if a player does not play for a team registered under the program, they must then play as a pool player.  
  • Although teams may be permitted to split into more than one team, the overall team roster is still limited to one sighted player.   
  • Additional sighted or non-USA resident athletes will not be permitted to accommodate split teams. 
  1. Sighted Athletes:  
  • Each team or program may include one sighted athlete on their roster. The sighted athlete must be the same gender as the team or program and the total of blind, sighted, and non-USA resident athletes may not exceed the existing 15 athletes limit per team or program.  
  • Sighted athletes will be identified on the team roster as the team’s sighted athlete. Regardless of how teams are split up under a given program, only one sighted athlete is permitted per team roster. When teams under a program split, they will have to decide how the one sighted athlete is used. The sighted athlete will be required to be a current USABA member. 
  1. International Athletes and International Teams:  
  • International athletes are eligible to compete at USABA-sanctioned events as individuals on U.S. teams, or as a team made up solely of international players.  
  • International teams are not permitted to compete at USABA Goalball National Championships, but an international athlete may compete as a pool player or as a member of a domestic team with whom they have rostered for the season.  
  • Players on international teams that participate in USABA-sanctioned tournaments must be current members of their IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) member federation.  
  • International players who play on the rosters of USA teams must be current USABA members. 
  • In cases where tournament slots are limited, priority will be given to domestic teams.  
  1. Athlete Eligibility, Team Participation and USABA Membership:  
  • Any athlete playing on a USA-based team must be a current USABA member, in good standing, and must be on a team roster as submitted at the beginning of the calendar year. Athletes must strictly adhere to the USABA Code of Conduct as outlined in the membership registration form. 
  • No athlete can be listed on more than one team or program roster. 
  • In the event an athlete appears on more than one team or program roster, the athlete will be contacted by the USABA Goalball Program Coordinator to determine the team where the athlete wants to play. 
  • Once a team is established and team rosters are approved by the USABA Goalball Program Coordinator, athletes will remain on that team or program roster for the entire calendar year season.  
  • If an athlete leaves a team during the season, they cannot join another team. They must play as a pool player for the remainder of the season.  
  • Rosters may be split into multiple teams and compete as such at any given tournament. In cases where tournament slots are limited, priority will be given to teams representing different rosters. 
  1. Tournament Guidelines: 
  • Before each tournament, the USABA Goalball Program Coordinator will work with each tournament director to ensure teams who register for tournaments have approved rosters on file with USABA and their entry is limited to the players listed on the roster.  
  • Pool Players: Any players not on a roster will be considered pool players. 
  1. If a team does not participate in a tournament, but an athlete from that team desires to play in the tournament, they must play as a pool player.  
  1. Assignment of pool players will be conducted by the tournament organizer and USABA Tournament Rep. who will use an impartial system to assign players to teams.  
  1. Pool players cannot request assignments to specific teams and teams cannot request specific pool players. 
  • Coaching multiple teams at one tournament will be allowed, however, the tournament director will be under no obligation to adjust the schedule to accommodate these coaches. In addition, a coach may only coach one team per division. 
  1. Eligibility to Play in USABA National Championships: Any team and athlete that plays in the 2023 USABA National Goalball Championship Tournament must have competed in at least one 2023 USABA Sanctioned Goalball Tournament as a member of that team or as a pool player. If an athlete is unable to attend a sanctioned tournament but wishes to attend National Championships may file an appeal with the USABA Sport Performance Director.  
  1. Format for USABA Sanctioned and National Championship Tournaments:  The intent of the USABA Goalball Program is to comply with IBSA guidelines for tournament rules, regulations, and guidelines as much as possible while recognizing many of IBSA’s guidelines pertaining to the execution of major competitions where tournaments are played over an extended period and USABA tournaments are held over shorter periods of time. Additionally, USABA recognizes teams are at various stages of skill development and that a single competitive division may not provide optimal play for all teams. The following modifications to IBSA guidelines for the 2023 USABA adult goalball season. 
  • Games will consist of 10-minute halves unless situations require that the time be adjusted. The length of each half may be adjusted at the discretion of the tournament director and USABA to accommodate potential facility use limitations. The duration of each half will be communicated to all teams in the tournament registration information.  
  • At the discretion of the tournament director and USABA, the men’s competitions will consist of two divisions, a men’s division, and an elite division. If there are not enough teams to split into two divisions, the tournament organizer will create pools that best promote a fair and balanced tournament. 
  1. Teams will be ranked for subsequent 2023 tournaments based on their performance at the previous tournament. 
  • Format for multiple men’s divisions. The items below are suggested formats, but the tournament director and the Goalball Working Group will have the final decision on the format. 
  1. Tournaments with 7 or fewer men’s teams will play in a single pool and will be ranked at the end of pool play following IBSA rules. Teams 1-4 and 2-3 will play in semifinal matches with winners playing in the final match for 1st place and losers of the semifinal matches playing for 3rd place. 
  1. Tournaments with 8-15 men’s teams will be placed in 2 pools. If there is an even number of teams, the pools will be split equally, A pool (elite division pool) and B (men’s division pool). If there are an odd number of teams, the B pool will receive the odd-numbered team. Teams will be determined by results as described in  At the end of pool play, team B1 will play team A4 in a quarterfinal match. The winner of this match will play team A1 in a semifinal match. Teams A2 and A3 will play in a second semifinal match. The winners of the semifinal matches will play in a final match for 1st place and the losers of the semifinal matches will play in a final match for 3rd place. 
  1. Tournaments with 16 or more men’s teams will be placed in 4 pools. Pools A and B will be elite division pools. Pools C and D will be men’s division pools. At the end of pool play, teams C1-A4 and D1-B4 will play in quarterfinal matches. The winner of match C1-A4 will play team A1 in a semifinal match. The winner of match D1-B4 will play team B1 in a semifinal match. T. winners of the semifinal matches will play in a final match for 1st place and the losers of semifinal matches will play in a final match for 3rd place. 
  1. Tournament directors and the Goalball Working Committee have the final say on the tournament format. 
  1. USABA-sanctioned tournaments will be open to all registered teams; no USABA-sanctioned tournament will be operated as an “invitational” tournament. Given facility and time limitations, tournaments may be “capped” at a total number of teams. or these situations, teams may register on a first-come, first-served basis until the team cap is met. A will publish a list of tournaments and registration opening dates as soon as possible once tournaments are confirmed. 
  1. USABA Membership Requirements: All athletes, Coaches, Officials, Tournament Directors, and team Point of Contact must have a valid USABA annual or lifetime membership before the tournament start date.  
  • To check your current membership status, please email   
  1. Safety/Security Training Requirements: USABA and tournament organizers are committed to providing players with a safe and secure playing environment. Towards this commitment, all coaches, staff members, team point of contact (POC), tournament directors and USABA referees are required to complete the following training listed below. 

The Concussion, Safesport and Background Check requirements listed below are required for the following individuals participating in a USABA-sanctioned regional or national goalball tournament. An individual who fails to complete these items before the start of a USABA-sanctioned tournament will be ineligible to participate or attend that tournament.  

  • Coaches: Any individual who is listed as a coach on approved rosters and sits on the bench or stands in the coach’s box during the game. 
  • Staff Members: Any USABA staff member, contractor or board member from the national goalball program and the national office.  
  • Team Point of Contact (POC): For teams that do not have a designated coach, a POC is an individual selected by the team to receive tournament communication on behalf of the team. The POC must be at the tournament. 
  • Tournament Directors: Any individual who is responsible for coordinating a USABA-sanctioned regional or national tournament as selected by USABA staff and the Goalball Working Group.  
  • USABA Referees: Any referee selected as a lead official for a USABA-sanctioned tournament as selected by the USABA Referee Coordinator. 

Every team must have at least one Coach or POC with completed safety requirements at each USABA-sanctioned regional or national tournament the team attends. The pool team POC will either be; a) the tournament director or b) another certified coach or staff designated by the tournament director.  

  • CDC Concussion in Sports Course: This course can be taken in approximately 30 minutes and must be completed every two years. Please send completion certificates to and save a copy for your own records. 

Complete your training here: CDC Concussion Training 

  • Criminal Background Checks (NCSI (National Center for Safety Initiatives)): The background check verification process can take up to 7-10 business days and a clear and current check must be verified before the tournament start date. Background checks are valid for 2 years from the approval date and cost $30.  

Submit your background check at NCSI Background Check  

  • US Center for Safesport Training:   

Safesport training is valid for 1 year for those who completed the training after January 1, 2018. The initial Safesport training course takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Individuals must complete an annual Refresher course which takes approximately 30 minutes. Refresher courses can be found in your Safesport profile using the same login credentials submitted to complete the initial training.  

Completed SafeSport before? Click here: SafeSport Login for Existing Users 

  • Log in and reset your password. Your email is your Username and select Forgot Password. You will be sent an email prompting you to reset your password. Once logged in with your new credentials, you can access upcoming and previous training.  

New to SafeSport? Click here: USABA Safesport Enrollment Link 

  • This link is specific to USABA, and it is critical that users new to Safesport sign up here rather than on the SafeSport home page. 
  • Log in, navigate to “My Courses” and start courses or see courses you have completed. You can start a course, save progress, and resume or complete training later.  

Access Certificates of Completion:  

  • From the “My Courses” section, find the course and select the “completed” button.  
  • From the completed course page, navigate to the certificates section and download a PDF certificate.  
  • To see a full history of your courses, go to the menu and select “transcript.” 
  1. USABA COVID-19 Policies: USABA follows all guidelines issued by the CDC and reserves the right to adjust program requirements to meet these recommendations.

Please submit a copy of this roster form to by January 10, 2023. If you do not use all 15 slots and later decide to add athletes. Please submit a revised roster. Please identify your sighted athlete on the sighted athlete line. Although teams can be split to accommodate local athlete availability, they will not be entitled to additional sighted athletes. If the program may be split into more than one team, please provide the name of all teams under the team name.