Reflections by a stuttering referee · Uncategorized

Youth Soccer: Decisions and Grumpy Coaches


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.



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.


    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.



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