Behavior Expectations

As parents, spectators, coaches, and referees, we will set positive examples for our children in all aspects of the game. If your team loses, find the positives in your child’s performance. If your team wins, be gracious … don’t “rub it in.” If the referee makes a mistake in a game, know that your child and/or team are watching how you behave in reacting to it, and will behave in the same manner when he/she feels “cheated.” Accept the fact that everyone makes mistakes, and play on.

Courtesy between fans of both teams is to be maintained in order for everyone to enjoy the game. Other spectators, like you, are the parent, grandparent, relative or friend of a player. Let’s remember – the game is for the kids.   The referees have complete authority over the conduct of the players, coaches and spectators from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave the field. From FIFA’s Laws of The Game #5: “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.” Just as a player or coach may be disciplined by the referee for unsportsmanlike conduct or dissent, a spectator may be asked to leave the area surrounding the field if they are harassing or heckling the referees, players, or coaches; or in any way interfering with the progress of the game. The referee is not required to issue a warning. If the offending individual refuses to leave the area, the referee may stop the game, resulting in a forfeit for the offending individual’s team.   Examples of Dissent: Any sentence or phrase which starts with, ends with, or includes the word, “Referee” or Linesman” For example, “Are you blind, Referee?” or “He’s off-sides, Mr. Linesman-get in the game!” or “Hand ball ref! Call it both ways!” Any negative comment or gesture directed toward the referee or assistant referee.    

Zero Tolerance

Verbal abuse of referees has escalated to the point that referees, particularly youth referees, are refusing to stay involved with soccer. Unacceptable incidents of verbal and/or physical abuse occur with regularity around our state and country. In light of these events, MUSA has adopted a “Zero Tolerance” policy regarding referee, coach, player and/or spectator abuse: Any coach/spectator/player who is asked to leave the field or area surrounding the field will not be permitted to attend any games until meeting with the MUSA Sportsmanship Committee for education concerning sportsmanship and appropriate coach/spectator/player behavior at youth soccer games.   A second offense by a coach/spectator/player will result in a suspension for the remainder of the season and a second appearance before the MUSA Sportsmanship Committee, where further disciplinary action may be taken.   If you are a referee, coach, player or spectator who has been abusive towards any referee, coach, player or spectator in the past, MUSA sincerely hopes that you will reform your conduct so that you may continue to enjoy your child’s soccer games.