Being a referee, I have seen many youth games as an outsider. But I also have played both club and organized soccer as a kid. Now that I see the insanity from an outside prospective, I am a little taken aback.
I think that every child should play soccer as a kid. This is an incredibly biased opinion but it does have merit. Soccer is a great sport for kids because it is simple in rules but complex in thinking. There are no plays drawn up, the player has to figure out what he or she needs to do. Soccer is also very physically demanding — a good amount of long, slow distance mixed with sprinting. For the development of kids, soccer is great.
But here is the dark side: parents. This is also biased because almost every weekend I have to deal with parents who are upset and out of control. Parents ruin soccer for kids. If the parent starts caring more about the game than his or her child, something is wrong.
Parents are their to support their kids, not to scream obscenities at the other team, the ref or another parent. I have seen many a child’s faces go a deep red when he or she hears his or her parents screaming from the sideline.
Parents should be involved with their sons and daughters soccer education. But parents need to learn to control themselves. I know that how badly they want their kid to win and to demolish the other team but can they please keep it to themselves. When they open their mouths to yell things like “Break his leg!”, “Pull her down!”, “That’s right, take that losers!”, they simply look immature.
Parents want their kids to be great and there is nothing wrong with that. But the kids will either motivate themselves to play soccer or they won’t. Chances are that the kid won’t stick with soccer if they have parents yelling at them from the sideline.
So parents take my advice: Encourage your kids, support their team. But please calm down and let the kids play. After all, its youth soccer.