After a recent girls' 13U soccer game that got out of hand, a coach who was not able to attend this particular game sent a letter to the parents of his players the next day.
Coaches, what would it look like for you to take this kind of initiative with your parents?
Parents, what piece of wisdom are you most in need of from this letter? How might you have conversations with other parents about the content of this letter?
Athletes, don’t be afraid to have conversations with your parents about how you experience them at your games. Yelling back at them from the field isn’t the answer—nor is remaining silent for years when you really want them to know how you feel.
I would like to start by telling you all that I appreciate your passion and dedication to this team and your children. It is a huge commitment to travel to these games, tournaments, and bringing your kids to and from practice. It is also a major task for you to deal with the up and down emotions your daughters have revolving around soccer.
I know sometimes I can be a very tough coach. That being said please do not take what I am about to say personal because it is not intended to upset anyone or call anyone out.
I have heard from multiple sources from the team we played last night and from other sources about our parents getting a bit out of hand. I am sorry I was unable to coach at our last game and I heard how ugly it was. I heard the ref let the game get completely out of hand which in turn sparked an outcry of emotion and inevitably ended with one of our players getting a concussion.
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I have addressed our sideline conduct a few times in the past and have stated that we are getting a negative reputation as fans. We simply must be better.
Calling the ref names does not help us win even if they are terrible. It ultimately hurts the girls because they take away a negative attitude from the field. Poor refereeing is always going to happen and we have to rise above it and just beat teams.
I have really been working with the girls on how to win with class and how to lose with class. If you noticed at last weekend’s tournament, no one cried or pouted when we lost in the final. Their heads remained high. I implore you to think of what you say or yell. It can affect the players on the field.
I know I am not perfect and you are probably reading this calling me a hypocrite but let me yell at the ref. Let me be the martyr and get kicked out. I would rather us three coaches give it to the ref when necessary than to have 30 parents yelling at the ref the entire game.
Player safety is my hot button issue and will always be. If at any time I feel like our girls are in danger and the ref can't control the game I will pull our girls off the field, get my player cards, and then chew the refs head off. We will not risk their health to play a game.
Here are a few things I will kindly ask of you:
- Don’t call the ref names—even if they really suck
- Don’t talk about other players if they are not your kid—no one's kid is perfect
- Let us coaches handle and interact with the refs
- Remember this is a game and the kids soak in our actions
- Don’t encourage players to take cheap shots—we are better than that
- If you get too mad to watch, walk away
- Just cheer them on, don’t coach from the sideline
Every time I run a practice or a game I do my best to be a role model for your girls but I know I am not perfect. I know that every action helps make them who they are as players and your young ladies.
My biggest goal isn’t to win games, it is to give your children a solid foundation in a sport they love so they can make something of themselves and be an asset to society. I would love for all of your children to play college soccer but want even more that they become lawyers and doctors. I don’t want them paying college loans their whole life like me.
I want them to be great at whatever they do and most of all I want them to have respect and appreciation for these years as a part of this organization.
If anyone wants to talk more about this please contact me.
There’s something for everybody involved in youth sports in this one. What stands out to you?