The Goal to Kick Verbal Abuse in September

A youth soccer league is taking steps to keep parents in control of their behavior. They're asking them to keep quiet during games and not yell at players and refs on the field.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Youth Soccer Association is looking to stop from parents yelling at players and refs during "Silent September" that will affect soccer leagues across the state.

Soccer parents usually have the stereotype of getting out of hand at soccer games and the soccer organization wants to combat the issue.

During the month of September, parents will be required to be silent at games to a certain extent by preventing confrontation between them and referees.

If a parent doesn't stop yelling after being asked three times, they will be asked to leave.

Burns Davison with the organizations says it's about starting a discussion about the topic.

"The number of kids who are involved with soccer versus the number of referees involved is an opposite trend. We have fewer referees with more teams and more games," said Davison.

Soccer is the fastest growing youth sport in the country and the number of referees needed is increasing. Davison says more than seventy percent of officials are dropping out of calling games because of the way that parents act.

Daniel Geddings is a coach and parent of kids who play soccer. He has some experience playing while growing up and he knows how certain parents can get.

"They have been real aggressive with their kids and it went beyond challenging them. There's a good place for challenging them to try harder and to give more effort. I think that's perfectly fine but sometimes it went beyond that," said Geddings. "There's no reason an adult should yell at fifteen or sixteen year-old on the field."

The ultimate goal from SCYSA is to help the kids have more fun.

"Our hope is that parents will see that their kids without the distraction of the parents sideline. It might make them more focused and might be playing better soccer and enjoy the game," said Davison.

The organization understands that parents will want to cheer when their child does something great on the field. They say that it's okay to do that and there's no problem cheering in that way. The silence for "Silent September" is just aimed at the negative comments.

"They can make noise. We just want it to be about the kids playing soccer and guide it away from people yelling out at referees or yelling out at players," said Davison.

"Silent September" is intended to be a temporary thing and should only last for the month. If conditions do not improve, they will continue to implement the rule.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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