Good Morning Members,
As we move into another weekend of games, we need to touch base on a topic of great importance. Across all levels, we have been receiving continued reports of very questionable sideline behavior from parents and coaches. This past weekend, matters seemed to boil over the top and we took the week to meet with our local Referee Association and as a staff to determine the next course of action. We want to take this opportunity to inform our members how BRSC will be moving forward with this kind of behavior.
At the PreK-2nd grade level, coaches and players are the only members permitted to be on the field. At no point is a parent allowed to come onto the field unless directed to by the coach. At this age, the kids are still learning the game. There will be pushing and shoving taking place as the kids are grouped together trying to get the ball. Feet/kicks will be flying everywhere and we understand that parents want to protect their children. Feel free to speak to the coach during a break in the play to ask them to keep a closer eye on correcting this sort of behavior with the understanding that it is expected at this age.
Further reports of parents entering the field of play to scold or approach an opposing player will involve in future canceled games for that team.
At the 3rd-12th grade level, we’ve been made aware of a disturbing number of incidents regarding referee abuse. As many teams may have noticed, the quantity of referees has decreased significantly over the course of the season to the point where the Referee Association has been unable to cover a handful of games each weekend with a referee. Simply put, referees are choosing to forgo recreational games as they simply do not want to put up with the level of complaints and abuse they receive from the sideline. As a handful of referees have told us, the kids are still learning the games, especially at the younger ages, and will often issue verbal warnings to correct things such as pushing and shoving versus blowing the whistle each time this occurs. Referees are human and will miss calls every single game. We can all do our part to be understanding that there is not a single referee out there who will never miss a call and that it is unrealistic for a referee to make every single call in a game correctly.
We want to make it extremely clear that the majority of our membership does not fall into this category. Unfortunately, those who choose to constantly berate referees, some of whom are minors, over missed calls are making it tough for referees to want to continue working recreational games. As the aforementioned handful of referees told us, they would rather work competitive games as the sideline abuse pales in comparison.
Moving forward, the Referee Association will be encouraging referees to no longer give warnings to parents and coaches at games. Referees will be encouraged to abandon games if this level of abuse continues.
We understand that many referees are still learning the game, as are the kids. However, soccer is a physical, contact sport and we can assure you that the majority of these referees are taking on this role for the love of the game and want to see nothing more than the kids having a great time. Please be sure to do your part in allowing the kids to continue playing the game we all love in a fun yet structured environment.