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Question Number: 29341

Character, Attitude and Control 4/21/2015

RE: rec Under 7

t bone of st louis, mo usa asks...

I coach a rec team of 5-6 year old boys. In a game, one of my boys had the ball with his back to the other team. The other coach yelled very aggresively to 'RUN THROUGH HIM!RUN THROUGH HIM!' At this age,the coaches ref the games. I told him i thought he was completely out of line and voiced my concern to the league. They dismissed me and said he was just being competitive. My question is: how would you handle a coach screaming things like that during a game of 6 year olds? High school age? College? Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

I just cant believe this and absolutely deplorable attitude by a coach which makes me extremely disappointed. Disappointed that it should happen in an Under 7 game and also extremely disappointed that the League should adopt such an attitude.
This should not happen in any game and certainly not in an U Little game.
Now how should it be handled? Personally if I was the opposing coach I would be challenging / admonishing the coach about his attitude and if I did not get an appropriate response I would seriously consider taking the team off the field of play and walk away. I can live with a one off excited shout. However if it is persistent yelling of an irresponsible nature that is no environment for U Littles and no little player needs to witness this behaviour from any coach. As for a League to say that the coach is just being competitive is no excuse.
As a referee I would be having strong words here with the coach. He would be warned that another outburst of this manner will have him removed and if he is removed more than likely there will not be another / enough responsible adults present to continue to look after the team. The game is then effectively over and it should be abandoned if the team does not have the required number of adults present to look after the team.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Running through him would most likely result in a foul for charging. At this age, it also would pose a high risk of an injury. This is not good sporting behavior by the coach and brings the spirit of the game down. At that age they are just learning. I would approach the coach and explain to him what is wrong with his thinking and remind him that these are just little kids playing. If he kept encouraging that...I would take my team off the field.

I as a referee would warn a coach of any age level to stop that poor behavior. If he did it again, he/she would be dismissed and a report filed to the league.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi T-Bone,
Tactical advise from coaches is at times tedious, stupid and down right idiotic as much so as intelligent, well directed comments at appropriate times, such is human nature given various attitudes and skill levels.
The comment run through, as in run over top a player knocking him down to get to the ball is not welcome at any age, never mind a 5 or 6 year old wee ones! I would suggest a rephrasing of the words to not imply it is ok for one player to mow down the other . Many overexcited coaches at the wee ones level are parents wanting to participate with their kids, not great soccer geniuses. A simple admonishment to the coach! Seriously, I think you misspoke? I can not believe you think it ok for the kids to just run over the other? How about get to the ball first? Same idea less violence! Referees and coaches should be working together here for the wee ones benefit. Of course if the coach after receiving warnings decided to be abusive or act belligerent then we must enforce the LOTG and explain to him that the match no longer requires his presence and if he fails to comply you abandon the match and report these actions to the competition authorities. A league that does not support a non abuse policy or back up referee decisions is a good league to avoid!

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