Reflections by a stuttering referee · Uncategorized

Youth Soccer: Decisions and Grumpy Coaches


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Today I refereed a U-14 boys soccer match. However, trouble started to brew in the second half.

After Halftime

Everything went well until the coaches started getting impatient that it was still level pegging (0-0). The players had incredible skill, but they wanted me to call every little thing. Considering emotions were high in this game, I maintained order and discipline. Instead of just giving free kicks I explained why I called a foul on them, some understood while others thought that I was biased and didn’t know how to ref a game.

Things go from bad to worse

The next five minutes turned into a gladiator contest, with boys flying and flailing their arms everywhere, in a vain attempt to get me to blow my whistle. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I could sense something bad was going to happen, I couldn’t have been more right.

Controversial Decision

The Goalkeeper from the defensive team picks up the ball, and out of nowhere #9 from the attacking team bulldozed the keeper. I run over blowing my whistle, and ensure the keeper is ok as he banged his head. My assistant and I discussed what just happened and we both knew what had to be done: The player would receive a yellow card (caution). After I displayed the card and wrote down the information, the defensive teams coach comes storming on the field furious. I take a deep breath and explain to him what I saw, which made my stutter worse. The coach got fed up and retreated back to his line with a grumpy cat look for the rest of the game.

In the end everyone left the field showing respect, which was great to see. Despite the drama I kept a positive outlook from beginning to end. I love helping the next generation of soccer players learn the beautiful game, it reminds me of when I played soccer growing up.

-James

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4 thoughts on “Youth Soccer: Decisions and Grumpy Coaches

  1. I coach girls’ grade 5 soccer at my school and I really appreciate it when refs take the time to explain calls. Thanks for standing your ground and not letting the parents and coaches intimidate you.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve always loved playing soccer but the politics in it made me retire. I play recreation soccer now. But yes sometimes the coaches and parents say things that shake my core, I just brush it aside. I enjoy doing this little extra section, it reminds me that I’m helping these kids learn the beautiful game how it should be played. Properly. 🙂 Off to class now.

      -James

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