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Monday, Oct. 8, 2007 | Regarding this week’s “The Merge: Silencing the Sideline Psychos:” there are other ways of maintaining order on the sidelines.
Two decades ago when I was involved in youth soccer management, the coach was responsible for his/her own sidelines and parents’ behavior. The coach could receive a warning (yellow card) for unruly sidelines and then an ejection (red card) at which point, the team of the beloved kiddies would be without a coach (and thus handicapped in the game’s strategy). If there were no official (card carrying) asst coach to take over, the game would be officially over as no youth team can carry on without an official in charge. If the game ended in the first half, the result would usually be a forfeit by the offending team to its opponent. If the game ended in the second half, the score would stand as is.
Unless lawsuits in the past two decades have altered this ruling, out-of-control parents would be banned from attending their child’s game, after a hearing.
And league officials should be roaming the sidelines of games, to remind and control these parents, and to support the junior referees. Without a steady recruitment of youth players who agree to take referee courses and actually ref the games on a weekend, there will be no trained officials for any games.
Parents should be at least three yards back from any sideline and should not be standing behind the goal line at all. It’s up to league officials to make and enforce this rule.