Mass Youth Soccer Coaches’ Code of Conduct
Additional coaching resources are available on the Massachusetts Youth Soccer website, as well as the US Youth Soccer website.
The Board of Directors of Mass Youth Soccer and the leaders of the affiliated leagues expect all coaches, adult volunteers, club administrators, and referees to conduct themselves in a responsible and principled manner at all times, and to always keep the best interest and well-being of the children they are responsible for as the highest priority.
We want to ensure that games are fair, positive, and enjoyable experiences for all the children and adults involved. A soccer game should be friendly and unifying – a spirited athletic and social occasion for the players, coaches, referees, and spectators.
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 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 (and you may need to be forceful and direct) from yelling at the players and the referee.
- During the game, you are also responsible for the conduct of spectators rooting for your players/team.
- During the game, do not address the referee. 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 yourself in that they need time to develop. You can play an important role in helping them to 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, concentrate on your players’ enjoyment of the game and their overall, long term development, and support the referee; your players and their parents will notice. If you encourage (or allow) your players to play outside the rules, if you are overly concerned with results, and if you criticize the referee harshly, your players and their parents will also notice.
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 do not follow the expectations described above will be disciplined or removed.