While this is not something we normally have to address, in recent weeks we’ve had 2 instances of a parent entering the field of play.
We can not have this for several reasons. The main reason being, the majority of our referees are teenagers from 13 on up to 17 years of age. We have lost one referee this season already and almost lost a second one because of this exact reaction by parents. While it’s completely understandable and perhaps even instinctual to rush to your child’s aid when in trouble, a soccer game is not the kind of trouble you should rush to. While you know all you’re doing is rushing to protect your child, the other children on the field do not. This includes the referee. All they see is an angry parent coming onto a field where they’re supposed to be in control, and where the parent does not belong. What child is not going to lose control during that sort of situation? As a parent, you must keep in mind that while you’re rushing to protect your child, that child referee has a parent that wants them protected as well. That’s up to us as an association, because it takes all of us including parents, kids and board members. While you may rush to try to help your 7 year old who got pushed on the field, in 7 years, that referee may be your now 14 year old that didn’t see another 7 year old get pushed on the field. Keep that in the back of your mind when addressing our referees.
Another reason is as a referee committee, when we see this, we have no idea why you’re on the field. We must assume our referee is in trouble and take appropriate action to deviate from this type of behavior. While you may see it as protecting, and it may very well be, the younger referees see it as an act of aggression. This is precisely why youth soccer is down in numbers across the U.S.
Just to put that in perspective keep this in mind during games and practices:
We understand these are things you don’t think about. But we all need to. Help us keep all our children safe. Not just the players, and not just yours.