Comments about ‘Game assault highlights problems in high school boys soccer’

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Published: Sunday, March 30 2014 7:05 p.m. MDT

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Sugar City, ID

I've yet to attend a sporting event, even in T Ball, but what there is hateful language present. Mothers are just as bad as fathers - or worse. And the LDS communities are not immune.


Are the numbers really a fair comparison? Do two yellow cards (and the subsequent red card) equal an ejection? If so, it's the only sport where honest mistakes, such as tripping, can lead to an ejection. It would be comparable to counting a basketball player fouling out as an ejection.

With that said, the fight that broke out at the Clearfield game sounds awful. I hope players like that get their tempers under control.

Cedar City, UT

It would also be interesting to find out how many of these ejections were due to denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. In basketball it is a foul. In football they call it pass interference. In soccer it is an ejection. The ejection rules in soccer are much stricter than almost any other sport. The game is high speed and the rules are designed to prevent injury and abuse of the rules of the game. It is the same way in professional sports. There are some things that need to be cleaned up in high school soccer but looking purely at preventing ejections is not the way to clean it up.

Joe Schmoe
Orem, UT

Just get rid of soccer altogether. Fights leading to deaths, concussions, etc. It is just out of hand.

Ball Boy
Payson, UT

It sounds to me like it is mostly an officiating issue-meaning there aren't enough good officials for all of the games. The officials are spread too thin. Therefore we need to decrease the amount of games. My suggestion on how to decrease the amount of games is to decrease the amount of teams. 2A soccer and the majority of 3A soccer (all teams but the south region &Park City & Juan Diego) should be completely eliminated. The top 3A teams always come from those schools & they could hold their own in 4A. Those soccer athletes could then take their talents to track or baseball or tennis thus making those sports more competitive. Soccer, for most schools, is a none revenue generating sport meaning that paying for soccer coaches, travel, fields & officials has to come from a general athletic budget. 2A schools and the lower end of 3A could really use the money that would be saved from cutting soccer.

Salt Lake City, UT

Want more soccer referees, UHSAA? Get more programs to play their varsity games at 7pm. Some of this state's best soccer referees are willing but cannot referee high school games because most of them start at 3:30pm. The game fees are already more than or comparable to the highest game fees in local amateur and youth soccer, so money isn't the issue for now. It's the time of the games. If more teams are willing to play under the lights at the football field, more referees will decide to officiate high school soccer.


Looks like volleyball's a pretty civilized sport.

Rugeley, Staffs

I coached my son's team here in England for five years, and was never ejected or even cautioned. The coach sets the tone for his team, and the really worrying item is the amount of coaches ejected. My team had rules that determined how they would behave. These included:

NEVER argue a refereee's decision.
NEVER call opposition team derogatory names. (Racial or otherwise.)
NEVER demean one of our own players that makes a mistake. (He knows about it already.)
NEVER react to a foul committed on you. It feeds the belief of the opposing player that he can affect how you play.
ALWAYS shake your opponents hands before and after the game.
ALWAYS ignore derogatory comments from the opposition or their supporters.
ALWAYS apologise if you mis-time a tackle. (If the referee takes you to task over it, aplogise to him, and refer to him as, "Sir.")

In the five years, we had one player cautioned, (yellow-carded) and no ejections. We also had a lot of referees give 50-50's in our favour far more than the other team. (Referees are human, and react positively when treated kindly.)

Murray, UT

How about a chart showing which schools have ejections? Pretending it's everyones problem and having no individual accountability is not fair. It's also not fair to blame officials for teams that are in over their heads. It's far easier to officiate Murray vs Bountiful, Viewmont vs Lehi, Bingham vs Brighton, Than it is to keep control of Clearfield vs Highland, Granger vs Kearns. Poor teams mean sloppy play and sometimes giving cards is about the only way to keep things from escalating into fights. The threat of taking games from an entire sport because of ejections can make officials hesitate and lose control. Giving the official more power, maybe even letting them choose length of suspension, would garner more respect. Maybe you don't scream at an official so loud if he has the power to fill out a form and keep you out of the next couple games. And maybe a kid who gets 2 yellows for a couple unlucky fouls doesn't get the same penalty as the kid who throws a punch. Realistic punishment for rule breakers makes much more sense than broad sweeping sport wide cuts.

Farmington, UT

“It’s insane,” she said. “Especially after all we’ve done. … I don’t have an answer for what’s going on.”

I have an answer----cancel the remainder of the season as soon as a certain number of violations is reached. There's no excuse for adults to let adolescents have a program that is out of control while the adults just sit there and wring their hands and say that they can't do anything about it.

Why are the same players decent in one setting and over the top in another? It's a cultural thing that has flourished in the high schools. And apparently it has been allowed, being excused by blaming a shortage of officials. Everyone hates the officials, but they are the ones that keep an athletic contest under control. It's pretty easy to see what happens when they don't do their job in football or basketball too, not just soccer. Not enough officials that are competent? Pair back the number of games. Coaches out of control? Give them some other assignment and replace them. Fans have a mob mentality? None allowed to attend the next game.

Enact true reforms.

Kearns, UT

I got news for all you parents out there. Your kid most likely won't even play their sport in college, let alone the pros. And to you coaches, most of you aren't going to coach any higher than high school. So get over yourselves.

I officiated multiple sports for over 30 years and I have seen an upsurge of bad behavior at all levels. Parents yelling at players, coaches, other fans. I've seen parents duke it out in the stands. I actually cleared the stands last year in a sport because the fans got so out of hand. They got exiled to the far reaches of the facility. They deserved it.

Ute Conference football is actually the worst. That is because the fans are too close to the field and the Ute Conference some day will get sued blind by an official that gets hurt because of the proximity of fans and coaches to the field. The Ute Conference doesn't even enforce the restricted box in little league games. Bad for them if an official gets hurt.

Surfers Paradise, AU

I've played soccer all my life and played at the division 1 level. I think I know where some of this behavior comes from.

Just like in the MLB, NBA, NFL and EPL, as players can talk, scream, and ridicule officials, where do we think players, parents, and coaches at the high school level get this from? It's in every game we see at the professional level. The interesting thing for me is that rugby, a physical and violent sport, has a very different behavior when it comes to players and officials. I never see players complaining to the officials, let alone to each other.

Perhaps we need to really take a closer look at our own behavior as we watch our kids play. Emotions are certainly part of the game.

West Jordan, UT

Sorry folks, but to suggest that this problem has anything to do with the officials is a cop out. There is a culture of entitlement today that is wreaking havoc with both parents and kids. Both for some reason feel like they are entitled to win (and even dominate) each and every time out. When reality doesn't match up with these entitled expectations, parents, coaches, and kids often behave poorly. Parents and coaches first and foremost simply must get their act together. They are the ones with the primary responsibility to teach and train these kids to embrace sportsmanship and learn good character behaviors. That is a pretty difficult thing to do when the parents and coaches themselves exhibit behaviors that convey poor character.

It is past time for parents and coaches to get their act together!

West Bountiful, UT

We are a society that has forgotten how to behave, let alone be governed. It is only the beginning of the end.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

I have a theory on this. The reason there is so much violence is that players are totally frustrated about their inability to score. In soccer, you run around forever and at the end the score is 2-1 or 1-0 or even 0-0. How much fun can that be? It's certainly no fun to watch. Two simple rule changes would make soccer so much more fun (especially to watch) and would thereby reduce the assaults: (1) get rid of the offsides rule (the stupidest rule in all of sports) and (2) get rid of the goalie. Gee, you might actually have a game that ends 12-10 or even 15-13.

Central, UT

Soccer is a different sport than basketball or football. Ejections are a part of soccer and don't always depict unruly behavior. For example, you can be ejected in soccer for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity by virtue of a hand ball or a tackle from behind. These types of fouls are equivalent to goal tending or a breakaway type of foul in basketball, which don't get ejections and in the case of goal tending, is not even a foul. In football, players get 15 yard penalties for a late hit, roughing the passer, or unsportsmanlike conduct. There really is no limit to these kinds of penalties and don't garner ejections. However, in soccer, these types of physical fouls earn yellow cards, two of which will garner an ejection, none of which may have been violent or unruly. In fact, in many cases, they are just poorly times tackles and challenges on the opponents. Counting ejections is not the best method for comparing soccer. They need to look at technical foul (basketball definition) types of ejections, not just the day to day ejection to evaluate soccer in comparison to other sports.

DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT

Maybe a teenage boy who killed Ricardo Portillo should come to mind. Should this boy discuss his mistakes and tell to all grown people and current soccer players?

Remember what that Netherland Speed Skating Coach said about American Football is a bad sport and soccer is a safe sport? Maybe those soccer players should wear football gear so no one get hurt and oh yeah add hockey stick in the soccer mix. I know, sound silly.

I hope this kid doesn't end up like what happened like Ricardo.

I am glad I stop taking my kids to any other sports after their T-Ball.

Sugar City, ID


Thanks. I think that will never be the case here.

Brigham City, UT

While the ultimate responsibility for boorish behavior lies with the players, it is followed very closely by the responsibility of parents teaching proper principles to their children. How sad that tantrums and bullying have become so commonplace in "the beautiful game".

However, personal history has shown that the coach holds all the cards. The coach can and should expect respectful, sportsmanlike conduct from the players, the coaching staff and the fans, in every situation. Ultimately, the difference lies in what is expected...and allowed...by the coach.

When youth and their parents/fans are told, trained and shown what is acceptable and what is not, right from the very beginnings of the season, regarding their relationship with the coach, team and opponents, maintaining control on the field is much easier.

Until the coach can get over himself and train the team properly, these problems will continue. Then it becomes the responsibility of the officiators, and ultimately the administration, to shut down those that insist on bullying on and off the field.

Go Utes!
Springville, UT

It seems that Soccer has a lot more extreme behavioral problems that does any other sport. The beating brings back to my memory that awful story about the Utahan last year who killed the referee because he lost his temper.

I have never liked soccer, this is just one more reason to stay away from it.

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