The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association and the leaders of the affiliated Leagues are concerned about the conduct of all coaches and referees during games at all levels, from recreational to premier to ODP.
We want to ensure that games are fair, positive, and enjoyable experiences for all of the children and adults involved. A soccer game should be friendly and unifying - a spiritual social and athletic occasion for players, coaches, referees, and spectators.
To clarify expectations of coach conduct, we jointly expect all coaches to conform to this code of conduct.
Before, during, and after the game be an example of dignity, patience, and positive spirit.
Before a game, introduce yourself to the opposing coach and to the referee.
During the game, you are responsible for the sportsmanship of your players. If one of your players is disrespectful, irresponsible or overly aggressive, take the take the player out of the game at least long enough for him/her to calm down.
During the game, you are also responsible for the conduct of the parents of your players. It is imperative to explain acceptable player and parent behavior in a preseason meeting. Encourage them to applaud and cheer for good plays by either team. Discourage them (you may need to be forceful and direct) from yelling at players and the referee.
During the game, you are also responsible for the conduct of spectators rooting for your team.
During the game, do not address the referee at all. If you have a small issue, discuss it with the referee calmly and patiently after the game.
If you have a major complaint or if you think the referee was unfair, biased, unfit, or incompetent, report your opinion to your League. Your reactions will be taken seriously if they are presented objectively and formally.
After the game, thank the referee and ask your players to do the same.
We stress two points:
Referees - especially young and inexperienced ones - are like your players and you in that they need time to develop. You can play an important role in helping them improve by letting them concentrate on the game. You can help by encouraging them, by accepting their inevitable, occasional mistakes, and by offering constructive post-game comments. On the other hand, you could discourage and demoralize the referees by criticizing their decisions, by verbally abusing them and inciting - or even accepting - your own players' overly aggressive behavior.
Your example is powerful, for better or worse. If you insist on fair play, if you concentrate on your players' enjoyment of the game and their overall, long-term development, and if you support the referee, your players and their parents will notice. If you encourage (or allow) your players to play outside the rules, if you're overly concerned about results, and if you criticize the referee harshly, your players and their parents will also notice.
Think about what you're doing during the game! Uphold the Spirit of the Game! If you follow the expectations described above, the Spirit of the Game will be alive and well in Massachusetts and will grow, along with the enjoyment of all.
Coaches who don't follow the expectations described above will be disciplined or removed.