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Question Number: 32718

Law 5 - The Referee 9/17/2018

RE: High school High School

Ben of Las Vegas , NV Us asks...

I am a 45 year old parent of two girls playing in high school. I played as a youth and have coached club teams etc. I also was the assistant coach to my daughters last year where we were one game from going to state and lost in PK's after 3 OT's. This year, since one of my girls is a senior, I wanted to kick back and watch. I know a few of the refs from over the years etc. This year I have deliberately stayed on the parent side of the field. My girls are defenders or mid field so I stay somewhere between the 18 and mid circle. I yell out to my daughters and say things like.... slow them down, don't let them turn, see the runner, hold your line, etc. etc. I NEVER talk to a ref because I have been a ref and I understand it. In two,of the last 3 games, I have been ejected, because the ref recognizes me from last year and also says I am coaching out of the coaching area and it doesn't matter that I'm not an official coach and have two daughters I'm encouraging.

The first time I was ejected I was really upset and let the ref know it, never swore or anything like that but he accused me of cheating because I was talking to my girls. I let that go and then 2 games later my girls pulled a trap and I yelled great job do it again. The official turned to me and said no more coaching, coach. When I said I was responding to something that already happened he kicked me out.

I am very fair minded and believe in sportsmanship etc, but for the life of me I can't figure this out. After the first game, I asked the head ref who is a friend of mine, why his line ref ejected me and he said because you sound like a coach and it's against the rules. I obviously will,just be quiet or not speak at all because it's about my girls not me, but am I wrong here? Seems all parents are yelling positive and negative things, does yelling the things I mentioned appear cheating to you? Getting ejected twice! For talking to my daughters?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ben
The key to me is the comment that your shouting sounds like coaching and the rules state that coaching can only be done from the technical area.
Now referees know that teams can try all sorts of actions to circumvent the rules on coaching. Coaches can be left out of the roster so that they can perhaps position themselves in a way that is most advantageous from a coaching point of view.
I know that some teams *instruct* club officials to act as spectators so that berating of the match officials does not come from the technical area which could result in an ejection.
While the reality is that you are not cheating nor coaching it may appear that you are in some way part of the team and coaching to match officials. Given that some know you as a coach that also heightens their suspicion of coaching. You may even sound more coach like than the actual coaches.
So my advice to you is to stay away from coaching like comments and stick to the normal spectator support comments of well played, keep going, well played
I respect your honesty and integrity and do not feel hard done by here or that your integrity has been maligned. In many ways as well your daughters are seniors the need for Dad to *coach* is lessened significantly. I am also a great believer in allowing young players the latitude to make their own game decision and that constant instruction is detrimental to player development. Players need to figure out some of what is not working / working themselves during the game.
Final thoughts.As children get older they want to *step out* on their own. Having Mum and Dad do what they have always done is perhaps not so cool when they become seniors.
Some Premier League academies forbid parent *coaching* of any description. They are asked to desist or moved to a viewing area. Many years ago when coaching an U14 team I was encouraging our goalkeeper to act as a sweeper by coming out to the edge of the penalty area. Also to narrow the angle on shots meant closing down the kicker by advancing off the line. Anyway the GKs Dad shouted the complete opposite of what was being coached as he felt that his son was best placed back on the goal line!! I always wondered what the kid thought of it all as I would never get involved in such matters nor did I ever tell a player to *ignore* his / her parent.. I let him figure it out for himself.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

If this is was a high school game, you are not considered a coach unless you are listed on the team roster as a coach. Everyone in the team area must be listed on the roster. However, since you were never in the team area and are not on the roster, you could not be considered a coach and should have the same privilege as other parents.

Also, referees in high school games are not to eject spectators. At all high school games (soccer, basketball, baseball, etc.), the home team is to have a game manager, and if a referee is having problems with a spectator, the referee is to ask the game manager to handle the problem. If the game manager is not able to stop the problem, the game can be terminated.

One possible problem that you may be causing is being too close to the field. In all high school games, for safety reasons, all spectators must remain at least 10 feet from the touchline.

I hope this helps and you are not told to leave future games.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ben,
thy reputation precedes you thus the expectations & perceptions are formulated ahead of time as a coach of kids rather than reconsidered as a parent watching kids. Coaches are to be listed on the roster & inside the technical area but because you are a KNOWN participant they SUSPECT your actions & incorrectly treat you unfairly THINKING they are honouring the integrity of the spirit of the game.
Applying ipso facto thus it must be true when it is all supposition! The problem of the self righteous when the KNOW they are right are most unwilling to not listen to alternate theories lol. Even if you hold an official made a bad decision if you publically make a fuss it tends to become a worsening situation no matter what degree of rightness or justice you have on your side,.

I will add this supporting your kids is not exactly the same as coaching or yelling advice in that it detracts from the on field decision making processes . I believe very strongly IF we are to ADVISE our kids, short to the point, appropriately timed comments not a ongoing spew of tactical info shouted above the competing surrounding sounds of further distraction. When I coach one of the first questions I ask players is," What is the fastest thing on the soccer field?" They generally get confused and say well our striker is fast or the ball is kicked fast but WHAT I am seeking is the MIND, thought is the fastest thing there is. The ability in anticipating where the ball will be BEFORE we kick it. If we interrupt their decision making process on the field they have to tune us in and stop thinking what THEY were already doing!

In US high school or FIFA referees are not generally responsible to eject spectators ? We usually use other resources to affect change! In high school games a game manager, and if a referee is having problems with a spectator, the referee is to ask the game manager or if FIFA big league they have security at rec we go to the coach in the technical area to address a problem in the stands that is adversely affecting the match. Perhaps mentioning that if the problem is so adversely affecting the match , the game could be terminated. Now the coach is not held accountable only his conduct in support of the referee to possibly have influence in correcting fan behaviour by acting in a reasonable manner to HELP solve the issue.

I do not think your honour or integrity are at all in question just a bit of verbal mechanics and staying away from being too close to the touch lines. You might approach and ask the referee BEFORE the match explaining what has occurred but funny about people making up their minds as to what is fair or unfair is based on their beliefs! & perceptions not always ready to take another's word as gospel. It is YOUR right to be there to support your kids. A letter stating you are NOT a coach from the association might be a good thing to keep with you t set aside what once was. That said try to refrain from tactical advise in the form of more supportive comments . It is not a good idea to argue or cast arrows at those THINKING they are doing their job and in their opinion it is you who are the problem because EVEN though YOU know you are NOT evilly wrong, you are setting an onfield example of conflict when a few less tactical comments solves this!


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