A great little story surfaced recently. Long-time soccer star David Beckham “revealed” in a light-hearted way (you can see the full story and video by visiting here… http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/8414829/beckham-sent-off-during-kids-soccer-match ) that he had recently been banished from the sidelines of a youth soccer game.
In fairness, it wasn’t a game involving his own son, evidently. Apparently, the referee in a U8 game, I think it was, sent off a young player for reasons that aren’t revealed in the story. Beckham apparently called out to the ref to essentially say, “Hey, he’s just a kid. You can’t toss him out…”
When Beckham persisted, the referee ended up throwing Beckham off the sidelines, and the longtime soccer idol had to watch the rest of the match from behind the field fence.
I can see both sides to this “disagreement”. Beckham no doubt thought it was silly to send such a young player off the field. But the bottom line is, the referee has to be in control and has to have the authority to make all decisions without interference from subjective and biased parents/spectators in the stands or on the sidelines. And that applies even to an international "star" like Beckham—who no doubt felt he was protecting the child in some fashion.
The referee saw or heard something, clearly, that no one else had noticed—I’m guessing language, or inappropriate behavior or a serious foul of some description. Even at these early ages, messages have to be sent about fair play, behavior, etc. And as importantly, the role and authority of the referee has to be respected by all—whether “mistakes” are possibly made or not.
With this as a backdrop—and more and more youth soccer teams preparing to go outdoors before long—it may be timely to think in terms of appropriate behavior and the right “attitude” heading into a new season, especially from a parent perspective.
Please click here to see our article on “Soccer Sideline Etiquette for parents”.
And remember the David Beckham story!