Toward a Positive Trend

In our quest to help the younger soccer players improve we may have started something that is more harmful than helpful. 

It is natural for adults to shout encouragement and advice to children as they are playing.  The instinct to help is prevalent in all of us.  As role models, however, we may need to take a look at some other more familiar sports and learn from them.

Picture these examples:
  1. The long fly ball is heading toward left-center field.  The fielders begin to run underneath the ball. Does the baseball coach or fielders parents start yelling directions to the fielders as who, what, where and how to catch the ball? 
  2. The quarterback drops back into the pocket to throw a pass and his pass protection starts breaking down.  Does the football coach or quarterbacks’ parents begin yelling instructions to the scrambler as to where and how to run in order to avoid being sacked?
  3. The ball handler is in the lane ready to shoot a lay-up.  An opponent is coming from the right side to block the shot. Can the coach or shooters parents call out any instruction that will help the player protect the ball from the opponent to get a clear shot at the basket?

You, of course, know that the answer in all the above situations is a loud and resounding – NO!!!

Knowledgeable coaches realize that during the action of any game one can only hope that instinct, talent and good basics will bring their players’ movements to successful fruition.  These wise coaches want players to focus and concentrate on the task at hand and to tune out every extraneous sound including calls from the sideline.

These same coaches go so far as to ask their spectators to refrain from calling players by their name or giving any instructions whatsoever.  They even take the time to  explain to the parents how difficult it is for players to… Concentrate on the Ebb and Flow of the Game … Listen for/to instructions … Hear the instruction … Understand the instruction … Apply the instruction while being pressured by an opponent. 

Some FACTS to consider:
1) A player receiving or handling a soccer ball is in the same physical/mental state as the baseball player chasing a fly ball; the quarterback ‘scrambling’; or a basketball player shooting a lay-up.

2) FIFA’s International Board states, “The Laws of the Game” are intended to provide the games should be played with as little interference as possible.”

3) Professional coaches can be banned from the sidelines if they are caught coaching during the game.

We have an opportunity to set-a-trend by having coaches adhere to the Laws of the Game; stay inside the designated coaching area; observe their team in action; take notes of points to cover during half-time and weaknesses to improve at the next practice session.

We also have an opportunity to set-a-trend by marking-out a ‘spectator-line’ at every field; expect & enforce spectators to stay behind this designated line; encourage spectators to observe their team in action and cheer/applaud good play by both teams.

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien) 
State Director of Coaching - California Youth Soccer Association (1979-2012)
Author Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series 
Producer of the highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVDs  
 Websites:   or 
Contact at:



  • Treat opponents with respect.
  • Control your temper at all times.
  • Play hard, but play within the rules--------------------------------------------------->
  • How you play is far more important than winning or losing.
  • Win without boasting, lose without excuses, and never quit.
  • Where rules apply, try to understand them and stick to them.
  • Play for the “fun of it” not just to please your parents or coach.
  • Always remembers that it is a privilege to represent your team.
  • Respect officials and accept their decisions without gesture or argument.
  • Be a good sport. This means appreciating good play whether it is by your team or opponents.
  • Work equally hard for yourself and your team- your team’s performance will benefit and so will your own.
  • Don’t go over the top when your team scores a goal by jumping all over each other in celebration. Just enjoy your achievement.
  • Co-operate with your coach, teammates, opponents, and officials- without them you don’t have a game. 

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PARENTS – Some Food for Thought

  • Emphasize enjoyment and fun.
  • Praise effort as well as improvement.
  • Show compassion for any injured player
  • Avoid heckling, jeering or distracting players
  • Censure those whose behavior is unbecoming.
  • Applaud positive performances by either team
  • Appreciate a good play no matter who makes it.
  • Always encourage your child to play by the rules.
  • Respect the judgement and strategy of the coach.
  • Don’t harass or swear at players, coaches, or officials.
  • Avoid using profane and obnoxious language and behavior.
  • Attempt to understand and be informed of the playing rules.
  • Cooperate with and respond enthusiastically to cheerleaders.
  • Avoid criticizing players, coaches or referees for loss of a game.
  • Set an example by being friendly to the parents of the opposition.
  • Relax and enjoy the game whether your team is winning or losing.
  • Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from children’s soccer.
  • Respect property of other and authority of those who administer the competition.
  • Never ridicule or shout at your child for making a mistake or losing a competition.
  • Show respect for your team’s opponents. Without them there would be no game.
  • Children and young people are involved in soccer for their enjoyment – not yours.
  • Don’t publicly question any official’s decisions, and never doubt his or her honesty.
  • Recognize the value and importance of coaches. They give up their time and efforts to help your child.

  • Children learn best by example. Applaud good play by your team 
    and by members of the opposing team.
  • Teach your child that effort and teamwork are as important as victory, so that the result of each game is accepted without undue disappointment.
  • Children play organized soccer for their own enjoyment. They are not there to entertain you, and they are neither miniature adults nor professional sportsmen and women.

Coaching Corner

Regarding Mandatory Expectations

In addition to a team meeting I give parents, players and assistant coaches the following information regarding mandatory expectations on the sideline:
Some coaches, parents and players have not been on any team with me, so I think it is important to set forth our mandatory team requirements: 
  1. Stay at least 3 yards from the touch line. The AR sees the game better and everyone stays calm.
  2. No one behind goal keepers.
  3. Do not give instructions to players other than cheering them on. Believe it or not, many times when a parent yells, dribble, they probably should pass, and when a parent yells pass, they probably should dribble (soccer is a funny game of opposites). 
  4. No arguing with anybody, specifically referees and other teams.
  5. No one enters the field (even if your child is injured).
  6. Play with class, even if the other team doesn’t know what that is. For example, if you score a goal, no excessive celebration (a quick high five from your team mates and then back to play).
  7. I generally sit at the game (this does not mean I am not interested or paying attention). We expect the coaches; including myself to be calm, quiet and reserved. The game is not for coaches to teach, that is for practice. We may call out to players to make tactical adjustments, but that is all. We observe the game and learn for the next practice as to what needs to be worked on etc.. If you have to move, stay in your own ½ of the field (if both teams are on the same side) and use the center circle as a gauge as to how far you should go down the touchline. 
  8. Once the game is over, move out of the area for the next team. Pick up all trash in our area, whether you left it there or not. In other words: leave the area cleaner than when you arrived!  
  9. All players stay in our technical/team area.
  10. Recreational Rules: All players play at least 50% of the game.

Specific to Coaches: read league rules (FIFA modified for age group), know responsibility if you are the home team (game balls, color conflict regarding uniforms, length of game, when can you substitute, etc.), have player passes, coaches passes, game roster, concussion awareness/protocol.

  • The course takes approxim

Referee Corner

Don’t Short-Change the Offense

Deny the Defensive Delay on Restarts


When you blow the whistle for a foul the only additional information the players need is the direction of the restart. 

When the foul is close to goal, the defenders will want to set up a wall and delay the free kick until they are ready. 

The defense has a right to set up a wall but they have no right to delay the restart. 

At that moment, the defense has no rights and MUST give the attacking team 10 yards from the spot of the foul. 

The offense is entitled to the 10 yards but they only get it, if they want it. 

Don’t listen to the coach or goalkeeper, listen to the players closest to the spot of the foul who might want to take a quick kick if they see an opportunity. 

In the meantime, the defense will do everything it can to delay the restart until they feel they are ready to defend the attack. 

It is the referee’s job to make sure that the defense does not control the kick and gets extra time.  The attackers have been wronged once and to allow the defense to have its way would be another wrong.

What is the referee to do?  The play has been blown dead, the direction of the kick has been indicated.  The referee needs to be close enough to the spot of the foul to be in control.  Do not let the defense handle the ball.  If the defense makes a move to interfere with the restart, it is a good time for a caution.  You must let everyone know what your requirements are.

There are tricks that teams will attempt to try to delay the restart.  They might pick up the ball and hold it or bring it to the other team or referee (who should rarely handle the ball) SLOWLY.   If a warning does not stop them, a caution may. 

Other tactics may be to kick the ball a few yards away, stand in front of the ball and tie their shoes or fake an injury.  There is also the traffic cop who stands in front of or behind the ball and directs the wall.  Watch for the player who comes running in from yards away and just happens to pass within a yard or so of the ball to disrupt the kick. 

A recent tactic is to argue the call in order to distract the referee so that he/she cannot get things moving swiftly.  This is pure gamesmanship and you need to be aware of it. 

The referee needs to be aware and in control of his/her mechanics.

Did you become a helper in delaying the restart?  Did you require a second whistle if the attacking team was ready to take a quick kick?  Did you pace off the 10 yards instead of quickly moving to the 10 yards and asking the wall to move? 

Those issues go beyond getting the free kicks taken, it goes to game control.

Players who are shortchanged while taking a free kick get frustrated and will try to take control of the restart themselves, which can lead to loss of control and fights because referees have not handled free kicks properly. 

The administration at all levels wants fewer instances of delaying the restart while coaches practices techniques to delay restarts and reduce scoring chances against their team.  Referees need to simply enforce the rules.  

Pat Ferre: USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus. USSF Referee Instructor, USSF Referee Assessor,USSF Referee Assignor, District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)

Note: Please send you comments on this & other referee matters to:

Health News

Komments will be…Addressing Soccer Related Health Information

We Are Role Modeling Behavior
By Carlos Flores RN FCN

Participation in organized sports, and more specifically, soccer, provides our kids an unquestionable benefit in body, mind, and spirit. As parents, we all have a stake in creating and molding our child athletes into the good people that is so inherent in them. Unfortunately, we adults occasionally blow it.

Recently, a “situation” involving two youth athletes blind siding a referee during a game made national news. These scenarios of bad behavior, not only amongst the athletes, but also with us parents, are well documented in our age of the internet. These behaviors, do negatively affect the emotional and physical well being of our young athletes. Even, for a lifetime.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that our focus as parents must be to praise good effort and to promote positive attitudes and values in our kids. 

When mistakes occur, these should be met with encouragement and corrective instruction. We must clearly demonstrate that the child’s worth is unrelated to the outcome of the game. 
So, our focus as parents and coaches should be, 
1) enjoyment of the sport,
 2) physical fitness, 
3) basic motor skills, 
4) positive self-image, 
5) balanced perspective on sports related to school and home life,
6) commitment to positive values, teamwork, fair play, and sportsmanship.

But most importantly, we must as parents and coaches, remember, we are role modeling behavior for our kids. If we lose our cool, berate referees, coaches, or even the athletes themselves, then what we can expect from our own children is much of the same behavior.

Congratulations to all parents who time and time again, show up for those games in 100 degree weather, rain (well not so much this year), and fog. With the only whoops and hollers of encouragement, not only for our own kids/teams, but for the opposing team as well. 

Love, above all, is what needs to be expressed on the sideline. 
Players Until Next Month- “play hard and play safe!”  If you would like to connect with Carlos Flores to suggest topics or receive personal feedback, he can reach him at


The outcome of our children is Infinitely more important than the outcome of any Game they will ever play!