This is a “re-worked” post that I originally wrote in 2011. At the time I had 2 daughters who had both been playing for years. One was at the club and high school varsity level, and the other was enjoying recreational soccer. My oldest went on to play at the college level before she decided she’d had enough. I’m down to one playing now, and the parents are not nearly as intense as they once could be, including myself. But I will never forget these days. Soccer gave me many wonderful memories. I got caught up in all this myself and was even a “videographer” for several years, filming every game and compiling highlight videos at the end of the season. Soccer also gave me some great soccer parent friends that I still love and hang out with. On the flip side, soccer could also be a great source of aggravation. The aggravation was more fun to write about. My new comments are in italics.
Soccer season is “kicking” in, which explains the length of time since my last post. With two daughters who have been playing for years now at various levels, my free time has come to a screeching halt. What does this mean to you? Not much maybe, but the start of a new season and a couple of scrimmages has made me think a lot about sideline etiquette. And it has inspired me to improve on the current soccer parent rules distributed at that first parent meeting…those rules we know by heart, whether we abide by them or not.
See, we sports parents don’t really like being told what to do (we know it all already, right?) and we really resent having to sign our names to these rules, committing ourselves to good behavior for an entire season. We know we need to bring water so our child is properly hydrated at every game. We know they need appropriate nutrition and a good night’s sleep. We know to keep our cheers positive, with statements such as “Good job”, “Nice try”, and “Way to go”. We know not to coach on the sidelines (okay, that may be going a little far). But aren’t these basically common-sense parenting rules?
Well, the answer may be yes, but these rules are outdated, they’re over-rehearsed, they’re politically correct. And they’re just not specific enough.
Now I’ve experienced the sidelines in club soccer and high school varsity soccer. That’s a whole different ballgame and there is no way I could make an attempt on setting rules for the types of things I witnessed. I’ve directed this list, however, to the recreational soccer parents–the newbies. And maybe those who have lived through this as I have will find some humor in it. So I present you with MY set of sideline soccer parent rules:
1) No coaching from the sidelines. This bears repeating, because it is one of the rules most broken by enthusiastic parents. See, little Billy has already been told by his coach where to be, what to do, and how to do it. Your direction could contradict what Billy already knows. In fact, it does, because you most likely don’t really know the rules. And little Billy doesn’t need another voice in his head. All he hears now is “waWAwawaWAwaWAwawa” (trying to write out the Charlie Brown adult voice here, if you will).