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A Referee’s Perspective on Sideline Coaching by Farpost Soccer Goals

As a professional Soccer Goals company, the team at Farpost Goals knows it’s important to consider a game from a referee’s perspective, coaches are permitted to provide tactical instructions to their players during the game. Unfortunately in many youth games the most common “tactical” instruction heard from coaches on the field by the players (and referee) is “Go, Go, Go” which doesn’t impart any knowledge, insight or direction for the players. As my Daughter commented about her previous coach, “Does she think I’m going to ‘Stop, Stop, Stop’ if she doesn’t yell ‘Go, Go, Go’ all the time?”

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Referees should step-in and warn (analogous to a player being cautioned), a coach if he or she:

1. Moves more than 10 yards from the halfway line up or down the touchline in either direction; assuming teams are on opposite sides of the field,

2. Threatens to remove a player if said player doesn’t improve his or her play to the coach’s liking,

3. The coach harangues any player, which can be defined as a coach ranting at a player, or

4. Of course cursing by the coach would demand an immediate dismissal (analogous to a player being sent-off).

Referees need to be keenly aware of the potential for verbal abuse by coaches towards their players and deal with it immediately. Invariably the player who incurs the wrath of the coach most often is the coach’s own child! The coach can’t separate his role of coach from that as parent and feels he’s entitled to say anything he or she wants to his child because “I’m his Father!”

The game of soccer is so fluid with dynamic play that by the time most tactical instructions are given by coaches, they are no longer applicable to the current situation at hand. When you have both coaches constantly barking out commands, then it’s just a cacophony of noise emanating from each sideline. Add-in the parents cheering and yelling and no wonder the players just try to tune-out the noise, focus and play otherwise If they don’t, how can they enjoy the game?

As a referee, verbal abuse from coaches “goes with the territory.” However, as a referee our job is to enforce the laws and protect the players. Unfortunately sometimes this means the players need to be protected not from only the opposing players on the field but also from their own coaches’ verbal comments from the touchline. As a soccer goals company, the team at Farpost Goals would like to remind everyone that civility and sportsmanship are important lessons on the field.

David Bragg

National Referee Emeritus (2010 – Present) National Referee 1997-2009 MLS AR 1996-2009 Indoor Referee Futsal Referee State Assessor State Instructor FUNdamental SOCCER Contributor

Final Note: Thank you for taking the time to read this article from Farpost Soccer Goals and for Sharing it with your soccer community. Clicking Like and Commenting on this subject is very much appreciated,

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)