Parent Conduct at Games

Parent Conduct at Games

Soccer games are as exciting for some parents as they are for their sons and daughters. That's great. For many of the spectators, however, soccer is a sport about which they know very little. They want to support the team, cheer for the team, and encourage their child. Occasionally, this enthusiasm combines with a parent's lack of familiarity with the game, or lack of knowledge of the Coach's instruction to the team, in a way which causes problems.

We do not wish to curb your enthusiasm for the game. We do wish to make sure that your enthusiasm is channeled in a way that will be helpful, complies with the rules of the game, and is consistent with the Coach's instruction to the team. In this spirit, please keep these suggestions in mind as you attend Parkland Soccer Club soccer games:

(1) DO NOT YELL AT THE REFEREE--It is our goal to build not only good soccer players, but good sportsmanship. Your positive, or negative, example at games will either greatly reinforce, or significantly undermine, that effort. The Coach or team captain has principal responsibility, although limited latitude, in speaking with the referee. Let them do their job when, and if, they feel it is necessary. And finally, with respect to tournament play, oftentimes one tournament team is given a special award for good sportsmanship. Your yelling and screaming at a game can do much to rob the kids of an opportunity to earn such an award.

(2) KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE RULES OF THE GAME--Sometimes, parental ill-will toward the referee is based upon a parent's ignorance of the rules of the game. Common problems are the understanding and application of the rules governing off-sides and illegal contact. For your education, in a later section of this Handbook, we have set out a limited explanation of some of the basic soccer rules which will help you become a better-informed fan.

(3) ENCOURAGE--DO NOT CRITICIZE--One of our goals is to help your daughter play good soccer. No less important is our goal to make every effort to insure that your daughter has fun. Your child understands the Club's high expectations of her and feels the peer pressure to do well. You can best help by confining your talk during the game to positive encouragement. The discussion later in this Handbook on becoming an "All-Star Parent" may be helpful to you in this regard.

If possible, be quietly enthusiastic and supportive. However, for those of you whose participation in and familiarity with other sports (football, basketball, baseball and so on) have ingrained in you an irresistible need to yell and scream during a sporting event, then we make the following suggestions.

Official List of Approved Cheers

• "Win the ball!" The team that is aggressive in gaining and keeping possession of the ball usually wins.

• "Let's go Parkland--you can do it!" A good, general purpose yell for a parent who feels compelled to yell something. It fits almost every occasion.

• "Nice pass (or "shot", or "throw-in", or "tackle", or "save", and so on)" A nice, short yell, for a parent concerned that if too much is said, ignorance of the game may be revealed.

• "Keep hustling, Parkland!" Another good, all purpose yell.

Official List of Prohibited Cheers

• Any sentence or phrase which starts with, ends with, or includes the word, "Referee" or "Linesman" For example, "Are you blind, Referee?" or "She's off-sides, Mr. Linesman--get in the game!"

• "Kick it hard!" Possession of the ball is a primary goal in soccer. We are not playing "kickball." We try to teach the kids to pass the ball to teammates or to open space where teammates can win the ball. At times, because of defensive pressure or the proximity of the ball to our goal, we coach them to clear the ball long. But, unbridled encouragement of the kids to "kick it hard" can often be confusing.

• "Go get the ball!" Be careful with this one. Winning the loose ball is important. But, we do not want to play "bunch ball," where all of the players run all over the field chasing the ball in a pack. Maintaining space, trusting your teammates to do their jobs, maintaining positions of support and attack are important.

• Any negative comment directed at any player, especially your own son or daughter. This is the rule that separates the "All-Star Parents" from the also fans. When the votes are counted, into which group will you fall?