We respectfully ask you as a condition of your child's participation in any of our sports programs, to please read and sign the following Parent Sportsmanship Pledge:
1. It is often diffficult for parents to see their children in situations where they are being evaluated, especially at a very young age. But if we spend our time worrying too much about how they're doing, we are missing what should be a wonderful experience for us as well as them. If they're not great players, we will love them anyway for who they are, find reasons to praise them for their accomplishments on the field, big or small, and know that they will be great at other things.
2. The game is for the kids. We shouldn't let our natural competitive spirit and normal desire for glory turn into angry yelling at the kids when they don't fulfill our expectations. Sometimes our expectations may be unrealistic. If they're having fun as well as gaining confidence by learning skills, and being coached by a person who is teaching and mentoring without anger, that should satisfy us.
3. Winning is one goal, but only one of many goals. Fewer than half the teams competing win their games on any given day (counting ties) and as studies have consistently indicated, children play mainly for the fun of it. Kids almost unanimously rate the FUN they have during the match much higher than the score at that single moment when the game is over.
4. We need to also remember that it is okay to lose because life is not just about winning. We suffer setbacks at times. Learning to accept defeat gracefully and come back enthusiastically next time is an important lesson to teach. As long as children try their best, they are winners on another level even when they lose the game.
5. Coaches and referees deserve RESPECT. They make mistakes as we all do, but whether they're great at what they're doing or not, we have a responsibility to set a good example to help teach RESPECT to our children. Yelling criticism at referees, coaches or players is inappropriate and that behavior must be subject to penalties from the club, including the last thing the club wants to consider, possible suspension from attending matches. Children often reveal that they are embarrassed when their parents shout out criticism. Referees do not change their calls but many do decide to quit because of the abuse they take from parents, coaches and players. Yet we wonder why we don't have enough referees. Coaches are giving time and effort and if they are making it a positive FUN experience, we should RESPECT them for that.
6. Some of us are more emotional, which is good in some ways. Some of us are calmer, which also is good in some ways. When we are emotional, perhaps sometimes because of frustrations in other parts of our lives, it is harder to keep ourselves under control. It can become a problem in this setting when we yell at the kids. When they think we're angry, it can make them nervous and lower their self-esteem. As a result, they may not perform as well as they can. Sometimes we don't even realize how angry we sound because, for one thing, our children don't always talk about their feelings. They may tell someone else.
7. When someone makes unsportsmanlike comments to other spectators, children, coaches, or referees, it is often best to ignore them unless they're good friends. In general, when someone is excited and negative, that is NOT the time to talk about sportsmanship. We should avoid confrontations at all costs.
8. Even if our child has outstanding ability, we shouldn't look too far into the future. We need to be realistic about the the question of whether they will get a lot of playing time in high school or college. And considering the rapidly increasing number of good players coming out of high school, we need to be aware there are relatively few college soccer scholarships and competition for spots on the roster will be intense.
9. Know the level of commitment expected and the policy on playing time. If you have any questions, it is often best to ask the coach during a quieter moment, not at a game.
10. If we keep the game in the proper perspective, we can realize that children usually have FUN as long as we support their effort. Putting them under pressure by being overly critical is not a good idea. If they become anxious about their performance, they may be hesitant to try new skills, they may not reach their potential and their interest in the game may decline.
11. The experience of watching children play youth sports is over all too soon. Why not relax and have fun simply knowing that the kids are having fun and we're having a good time together?