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October 15, 2015


Last night I spoke to a large gathering of South Florida youth-soccer coaches. I presented the following Q&A on how to be a soccer parent. I wish I could say I was exaggerating.



By Dave Barry


Q. What is the object of the game of soccer?

A. The object of the game of soccer is for your child to score goals, so that he or she will receive a full athletic scholarship to a Divison 1-A college.


Q. What is the role of the other children on my child’s team?

A. Their role is to pass the ball to your child.


Q. What position should my child play?

A. Your child should play forward.


Q. What should I do if the coach wants my child to be a defender?

A. Be reasonable. Ask the coach, calmly and politely, why he wants your child to play defense. Listen to his explanation, and consider it carefully. Then, file a lawsuit.


Q. How many minutes should my child play?

A. Your child should play however many minutes are in the game.


Q. When is it acceptable for the coach to substitute another player for my child?

A. When your child is not at the game.


Q. What is my job, as a parent, during a soccer game?

A. Your job is to yell instructions to your child and the other children on your child’s team.


Q. Should I make an effort to educate myself about the rules and tactics of soccer before I start yelling instructions?

A. There is no need for that. As a parent, you have a natural intuitive understanding of the game, which you should share with the entire world by constant yelling.


Q. Can you give me some examples of the kinds of instructions I should yell?

A. You should yell helpful tactical information, such as:



Q. Shouldn’t the coach be the one who gives instructions to the players?

A. No, the coach is standing too far away to know what is going on.


Q. Should I also yell at the referee?

A. Absolutely. The referee is always grateful for the shouted opinions of parents on the sidelines. If the referee makes a call that you disagree with – defined as “a call against your child’s team” -- be sure to let him know, and he will be happy to change it. He will also appreciate it if you remind him, from time to time, that he is an idiot.


Q. What does it mean when my child has the ball taken away by another child?

A. It means your child has been fouled. You should let the referee know this immediately.


Q. What should I do if my child falls down?

A. Inform the referee that he needs to issue a red card to whatever player was nearest to your child when your child fell down.


Q. What should I do if my child knocks an opposing player down from behind so hard that the opponent is bleeding and screaming in pain, possibly with a bone sticking out of his leg?

A. You should yell: “THAT WAS ALL BALL, REF!!”


Q. What should I yell if the other team scores a goal?

A. You should yell: “THAT WAS OFFSIDE REF!!”


Q. What does “offside” actually mean?

A. Nobody knows.


Q. If my child somehow fails to get a full scholarship to a Division 1-A college, what is the most likely explanation?

A. The most likely explanation is that your child is not getting adequate coaching. But it’s also possible that -- to be brutally honest -- you were not yelling loud enough.


Q. I have followed all of your instructions, and for some reason my child is saying that he might want not to keep playing soccer. Also the coach has announced that he will not be with the team next year. Also I have noticed that the other parents have started sitting far away from me on the sidelines.


A. Just ignore them. Some parents can be real jerks.



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Also, it's Florida, so don't forget to pack your roscoe

Real good Dave. Too funny

Alan King wrote about the experience of his children playing Little League baseball. He talked about the parents' meting with the coaches -- "where they treat the grown-ups like children and the children like grown-ups." It read something like this:

"All games are played at PS 38. All games begin at 4:00pm. The children must be wearing regulation baseball shoes or they won't be allowed to play."

They always open the floor to questions. These are the questions:

"Where are the games played?"
"What time do the games start?"
"Is it okay if they wear regular shoes?"

So basically nothing has changed in fifty years.

Also, here are some things that every player already knows, so you should yell them frequently:


On the last one, they actually do need reminding that what they are supposed to talk about is the current game they are actually playing. (I coached co-ed teams.)

Q. I want to bring my baby and shihtzu puppy to play on a blanket by the side of the field as I talk on my cell phone because O.M.G. the games can be *SO* Long! Do you think they will be safe ?

A. Yes.

Q. I'm having trouble fitting my mocha orange-valium-spice latte grande into the cupholder on my L.L.bean soccer chair. do you have a solution ?

A. Sure. There should be plenty of room to just set it on the matching baby/puppy play blanket you have right next to it.

No problem.

Yeah, I was like that until I assisted/substituted for the coach on my son's roller hockey team and sometimes refereed when an official wasn't available. Damn. ISIS plays hockey?Came near to ejecting both coaches and parents.

I went to a high school football game Friday night and I yelled out many helpful hints to the players. But did they listen? No. If they had maybe the final score wouldn't have been 52-20. I am not making that score up. We lost by 32 points. They couldn't have caught a ball if their lives depended on it. I also yelled out many helpful pointers to the referee. btw, I don't actually have a kid on the football team. My kid is in the band and they did a great job. I even suggested that they let the band play the next game. They said they would think about it.

Streakers. How could you not discuss streakers?


If Marching Were Any Easier, It Would Be Football!


Why Is The Football Team On The Band Field?

So true wanderer.

" Swing batta batta batta batta !! " No wait... That's for Little League parents.

The neighboring city put up a soccer park, paid for by taxpayer money. It's approaching the 10-year anniversary, and police have only been called 8 times.

Don't forget to send the ice cream truck by the soccer field in THE MIDDLE OF A DAMN GAME! I had kids on my team leave the field and go over to the ice cream guy during a game once. Sheesh!

I ref youth football. I have noticed a phenomenon on the part of many parents and coaches. No matter the quality of their team or the quality of the opposing team, it is a widely held belief that: My kid's team can do nothing wrong. Your kid's team can do nothing right.

I have also noticed that the "My kid's team can do nothing wrong" belief seems to be in an inverse relationship to their actual ability to do anything right. (Meaning, they are usually getting walloped- which, as we all know, is directly and solely because of the refs' obviously biased calls.)

So, I have seen Dave's recommendations being fully utilized on numerous occasions. His recommendations have been fully and completely field-tested for decades and are, therefore, well-documented.

My son, who is also a ref, once threw out most of the coaching staff and 4 or 5 of the parents of a team. He would have thrown out more parents, but they got in their cars and left before he could. He set a record in our officiating association for most ejections in one game. Oh, and that team lost badly. What a surprise.

I once went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

C. Robbin, send your son to Washington!

Maybe next time you'll get the chance to talk to the parents of players of a real sport.

I am reminder of the time that Jay Leno decided to show all the highlights from the latest world cup final. The slugfest went 90 minutes.

the highlight was 5 seconds - the single goal scored in the game.

A coach calls a player over ....
"Son, do you know why I put another player in your position at the end of the game?"
Player: "Yes coach. We all get playing time and we all get sideline time."
"And do you know why we never challenge the referee?"
Player: "We have to take the good calls with the bad. There's no point in arguing."
"And do you think it is right to call your coach a dumb lazy butt peckerwood?"
Player "Never coach."
"Good. Please explain all that to your parents."

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