By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 14, 2023-Last winter, I refereed the Boys High School Division of the Long Island Futsal League. In the 50 games, we had only one red card and six yellow cards, and most of the cards were in just one match where the players started trash-talking. Older boys games sometimes have the most cards in any age groups yet there were very few because the coaches of all 14 teams emphasized development and safety.
I have refereed TOPSoccer and Special Olympics games for decades and never had to give out a card in any of those well over 100 matches that I reffed Special Children. The coaches are emphasizing friendship.
While the coaches in all these games above are emphasizing development, safety and friendship, what they are not emphasizing is winning. And in all the games that I have officiated, I’ve noticed that teams play better when players are relaxed and the coach is not emphasizing winning. I overheard one coach say to the team parents, "Try not to tell your child when an important game is coming up."
Although I do not know how many trophies I received in youth soccer, I can tell you that I'm still friends and socialize with my old teammates. Which is much more important than any old trophy that was discarded decades ago.
Youth soccer teams can all develop their skills, be safe and make friends while only one team can win a game. Something to think about as we complete the Fall Season.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 10 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/