Take a look at the 30-second clip below showing one serious foul and then one reckless foul by the same player during the U13G semifinal at US Futsal Nationals this past weekend in San Jose.
These fouls were about 7 minutes apart during the last 15 minutes of the game and earned the offender two yellow cards and then a red.
The first foul could have been a straight red card, especially in a futsal context where the laws of the game are tighter than for outdoor soccer.
The coach had assigned the offending player to man-mark orange #6 and had berated her repeatedly for not being physical/aggressive enough. This coach got increasingly frustrated as the game unfolded and then channelled that into his players.
I don’t believe that this girl had the intention to hurt orange #6 earlier in the game, but she was eventually pushed too far by her coach. She was under increasing pressure and finally snapped.
Orange #6 could not continue playing and had to be carried off the court. Later she had difficulties walking and her lower back and right hip was very painful. She was lucky to avoid serious injury.
And by way of context, the orange team was winning 6:0 when the first offense occurred. And let’s remember that futsal in particular is about footwork, skills, and creativity. So let’s coach those aspects of the game, win or lose.
This is an example of what can go wrong with youth coaching when coaches lose perspective.
The offending player learned nothing from this kind of coaching and ended up evicted from the game. She didn’t strike me as someone who would wear that with pride. I very much doubt that this experience furthered her interest in soccer.
And the injured player could have sustained career-ending injuries, which would have a been a major blow for her, of course, but also soccer more broadly – orange #6 is very talented and very likely to make the U.S. Soccer national player pool soon.
[Update: turns out, this player did take pride in her red card afterall. Due to some social media sleuthing by an observant parent, we also know that at least two parents on that team congratulated this girl on the red card. So it’s clearly not just a coaching problem as was pointed out in the comments below. Disgraceful in my view.]