The following message was emailed to all clubs, teams, coaches, players, and parents today:
The NorCal Board of Directors is concerned about the issue of sportsmanship and, specifically, referee abuse within soccer. Quite simply, it is unacceptable for any coach, player or parent to verbally or physically abuse referees, players or any other person involved in a soccer match – or at any other time for that matter!
Although the vast majority of games take place without incident, in the first three weeks of the season, NorCal Premier Soccer has seen three cases of referee assault referred to US Club Soccer. Last weekend alone, we saw 19 red cards for violent conduct or abusive behavior. Following this uptick in referee abuse and red card reports, we have moved swiftly, with US Club Soccer support, to address these incidents in the following manner:
- The NorCal Board of Directors will be notified immediately about any cases of violent behavior;
- Clubs, with coaches, players or parents involved in cases of violence or abuse will be placed on immediate probation – until the investigation is complete;
- Coaches, players, parents and in some cases, entire teams, involved in violent conduct, will be suspended immediately;
- During the probation period, any further offenses committed by any coach, player or parent of that club will lead to an immediate examination of the clubs’ continued membership in NorCal Premier; and
- The NorCal Board of Directors will decide, with US Club Soccer, what further sanctions are needed for the club, coach, team, player or parent involved in the incident.
Obviously, each individual is responsible for their own actions, however, within NorCal Premier Soccer and US Club Soccer, clubs also are responsible for the behavior of coaches, players and parents during all matches.
We maintain an unwavering belief in club soccer’s positive role in creating moments when valuable lessons can be learned; winning and losing, teamwork, cooperation, and hard work. We also maintain a firm belief that mistakes are an important part of this process, certainly a big part of every game and all involved in soccer. Players, coaches, referees and parents will make them – so expect and deal with them appropriately. When mistakes are made and emotions run high, a coach must be a positive role model and demand that parents and players follow suit.
We know most soccer clubs expect all of their members to behave in a sportsmanlike manner at all times and many achieve that goal – for that we applaud you. We request that all clubs share this letter with your teams, coaches, parents and players prior to your next game to ensure they clearly understand the sportsmanship expected of them and the consequences awaiting their club, coach, team, and individuals should they step outside the normal boundaries of soccer behavior.
Finally, we believe that Soccer is the greatest sport in the world, and violence and abuse has no place in the beautiful game. Please assist us to ensure your club, team and community stand vigilant against this type of behavior and help us remove it from our game.
NorCal Board of Directors