By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
May 16, 2023-I’ve been involved with sports my entire life and quickly realized as a kid that only one team can win the game but both teams should be having fun. This was just as true today as when I was a boy in the 1960’s. With soccer, I was a player, briefly a coach, a referee, administrator and sometimes a spectator.
Yet this is not as apparent to some of the adults in youth sports who place winning and perhaps that elusive college scholarship above fun and fundamentals. And that’s why so many of the players in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) quit the sport as they find better things to do than being yelled at by their parents and/or coaches.
After all, if your son or daughter was a musician and hit a wrong note during a recital, you would not yell at the child. And if you did, that would be embarrassing. Then why is the constant yelling that I hear from the touchlines while refereeing youth soccer games not embarrassing behavior? And the constant instruction should stop as well as let the kids make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes.
Additionally, we have many talented local players who play very tight the more important the game is and struggle to put a few passes together. Because they have been constantly told how important the match is. After two highly-ranked teams both played a relatively poor match on a weekday night, I heard a coach say to his players, “We have two important games this weekend with six points up for grabs.”
Instead of emphasizing winning, throw the balls on the field and let the kids have fun. The kids will play much better and the games will be fun for everyone––players, coaches, refs and spectators––when that is the goal instead of winning.
Many coaches do this and one who stands out in particular had his team playing in the Long Island Futsal League last winter to prepare for the Spring Season. They knew that they'd often be overmatched and they were but opposing teams kept the scores from becoming a rout by switching their players’ positions. The overmatched team also struggled at times to put a few passes together but not because they were tight as they were having a lot of fun. When the season concluded, their cheering parents took a team photo in front of a net. I think that squad is going to be around for years to come.
With approximately 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. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/