Game assault highlights problems in high school boys soccer

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  • SoccerCoachandReferee CEDAR CITY, UT
    April 4, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    I am a high school soccer coach and referee. Soccer is not like any other sport. The rules are different and ejections happen more often because of those rules. However, one issue with UHSAA soccer referees is they do not have to be trained, they only have to pass an online open book test. We have many outstanding referees who do a great job and are subject to abuse from fans and coaches. Players take their cue from the adults. If the adults are abusive, so are the players. UHSAA referees do not have to pass a physical fitness test either. As a college referee, I do pass an annual fitness test. The game is meant to be physical, but the referee has to control the game using his voice, the whistle, AND cards. If the referee doesn't use their voice, a physical game can spiral out of control. Getting ANY referees is hard enough, but requiring training will make it tougher, but that is what we need.

  • nvfan Cedar City, UT
    April 3, 2014 11:08 p.m.

    Other than the fight identified in this article, I just do not think that there is any greater problem this year than any of the previous. Not every red card given in soccer is equivalent to a personal assault and should not be judged as such.

  • nvfan Cedar City, UT
    April 3, 2014 7:26 p.m.

    I agree with derecha's statement concerning the differences between the sports. You cannot judge soccer by just the numbers of red cards handed out during a given period of time. I know that one player this season got a red card for saying the word "freaken", which the referee interpreted as a different more offensive word. But the referee felt he had heard something that required a card. I also witnessed a red card given a Canyon View player for a hand ball in the box. The player unfortunately raised his hands inadvertently deflecting the ball in the box. He deserved the card but was in no way violent. I have also witnessed some sad refereeing during this season. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE AN ASSISTANT REFEREE THAT CAN RUN. Most are 30 yards behind the last defender while trying to determine whether the offensive player was offside or not. You cannot make a good call if you are not in the right position. Also, referee's are the brake pedal on the physical play of any game.

  • Simpe Spectator St.George, UT
    April 2, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    There are a few problems with this...
    As many people have stated, soccer is so hit and miss with fouls. I recently had to explain to a friend of mine how soccer works and his question to me was "How come one game its like football out there, and the other its like ice skating" referring to the fact that in some games refs let you do more than other refs. Also, I wanted to see how many refs have been banned for a temporary or permanent time from reffing soccer. It seems like it is always quite a bit higher than other sports. Also, having gone to many different sporting events, soccer is the only sport I have seen when the refs will regularly argue with fans. Refs should NEVER argue with questions asked. I think the other problem is too that refs don't have the guts to call a foul in the box when its a close game. They need to get the guts and make the call when and where it happens. Unless you make those changes, we will keep having problems.

  • Fan 100 St. George, UT
    April 2, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    As a high school soccer coach this article is embarrassing to me. Boys soccer has already been on probation recently and things have not changed. I fear we as coaches, players, and parents are going to tie the hands of the UHSAA and force them to remove the sport for a time.
    Ownership of this problem falls on the coaches, parents, and players. Officials are going to make bad calls all over the place. It is how we respond the call that is causing the problems. I am guilty as much as anyone in arguing calls that I think were unfair. In my experience in coaching high school soccer, both boys and girls, the majority of cards have been issued for unsportsmanlike behavior. Mostly arguing with officials, taunting, and physical altercations. Not a lot are issued for denying goal scoring opportunities.
    It starts with the coaches and parents owning their behavior and knowing when to stop. Officials know they will probably make bad decisions. However, the adults around the game need to set a better example of how to react to things that don't go their way all the time. That is life, to put it simply.

  • Trigotan Kennewick, WA
    April 2, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    If you force teenage boys to play a sport designed for women and small children, they are going to behave like that. It shouldn't be a surprise.

  • defhed HURRICANE, UT
    April 1, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    One thing I have noticed is that in several high schools in the state, Soccer is not allowed to be played on the football field. Therefore soccer is played on a field, usually in close proximity to the fans, and etc. Every high school has a football stadium, usually with bleachers for both sets of fans. Why not require that soccer be played on a field where there are separated bleachers for fans of opposing teams? They should be a way off from the field, thus letting officials and coaches do their jobs without having unruly parents and fans right on their backs.This simple solution seems to work very well at football games. As long as the UHSAA lets soccer be played on city parks, like any other unorganized competition, we will continue to get the same results. I say move soccer onto the football fields! Use the assets we already have. Then keep the fans in the bleachers, and some at home! At a properly set up stadium this becomes easier for coaches, officials, school administrators, police officers, and etc.

  • JT4 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 1, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    There are a number of issues that create problems in youth soccer. One is certainly the quality of refereeing, and the fact that the one calling the fouls can be a distance away from the call. Another is different cultures involved, with differences related to what is acceptable behavior both in sports and in society. I have seen some teams play in ways that are not just attempting to see what they can get away with within the rules, but rather clearly flouting the rules with their coaches condoning it. If a ref is not experienced or not in control and doesn't take appropriate steps to penalize such teams, you can guess what that does to the coach and the fans on the opposing team. Another issue still brought up one of the clubs that does indeed try to see what they can get away with, within the rules, but can be dangerous play. If one team, for instance, is willing to kick the ball high up without regard to the opponent's head until they get called for it, that team will of course continue to do it. It is an undeniable edge for that club.

  • Jack of trades SLC, UT
    April 1, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    What I'm about to say will not be politically correct but from my observations there is much truth to what I'm going to say.

    1. Soccer is managed poorly. School officials do not supervise soccer matches very well. It's outdoors, big field, not a lot of fans. Therefore, there are not a lot of security measures taken by schools. In contrast basketball games have armed officers at many contests.

    2. The culture of soccer is different than any other sport. More Hispanics, and foreign speaking kids play soccer, leading to a language barrier and an element of perceived racism. Many confrontations arise from this culture clash. Both on the field and off. This culture clash is not prevalent in other sports.

    3. Soccer is still a second class sport in Utah. Not enough people care enough to supply the proper amount of time and resources to make soccer in Utah function better. Schools are stretched as is and it's not basketball or football. Coaches and officials are left to themselves to make it work. And with the problems stated in my first two points it's just not enough.

  • DiscernIt Payson, UT
    April 1, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    There was a comment recently that said that blaming the officials was a cop out. Wrong! Don't get me wrong, some officials are excellent, that being said MOST are terrible and they don't know how to keep a game under control. Want to know why? It is because of the training program that they DON'T go through. Officials need more difficult training regimes. I coached for years and referees are a HUGE part of the problem that no one wants to make responsible. I hear all of the school admins calling it student and coaches problems without hearing anything about the official problem (see what I did there).

    This is not to say that coaches, players, and parents alike are not part of the problem. Those individuals need to be under control as well. I have seen many coaches yell and scream because they don't understand the rules of the game properly and for that reason they teach their teams VERY wrong. To place blame on just one side is asinine and ridiculous.

  • chrishunt Provo, UT
    April 1, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    The organization should look into what Utah Youth Rugby does with referees. For each of their games, each team will provide a linesman and the center will be provided by the league. This not only helps staff and train officials, but it also shows players how stupid their team/parents/coaches are towards officials because it extends to them. Make each player on a team do it and I'm sure they will change their attitude about it. Rugby is much more physical than soccer, yet it has drastically less discipline problems.

  • Martin Blank Salt Lake City, UT
    April 1, 2014 6:45 a.m.

    As Coach Wooden used to say, "Playing sports doesn't build character; it reveals it." While character can be taught (and learned), when there are problems like this it's usually a failure on the part of those who should be modeling correct behavior. So coaches, administrators, parents? This is on you. Figure it out, and do better.

  • Nate C Provo, UT
    March 31, 2014 9:33 p.m.

    A couple points from a 30-year-old soccer ref that has done several years of officiating both high school and club:
    A lot of refs that start reffing high school soccer don't stick around for more than a couple of seasons because there is a privileged group of refs that get all of the 'centers', while the rest of us have to do the assistant ref jobs (the center gets paid $53 while the AR gets $36). And yes, many of that privileged class can't keep up with play at all.
    There really ought to be a sophisticated statistical analysis of the ejections, i.e. do some schools get more than others, are certain regions worse than others, do some refs hand them out more, etc. My guess is, 1A-3A is just fine, and only a couple of schools in 4A-5A are worth suspending due to excessive ejections, while there are a few red cards spread out everywhere else.
    Highland has always been awful sportsmanship-wise. I'm not sure if they have the same coach as a number of years ago, but his infantile tantrums encouraged his players and fans to show terrible sportsmanship.

    March 31, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    1. High school coaches quit complaining about everything. You ask for more, better officials and drive out any young ones after one season because of your continuous whining. The next year it starts all over. Give them an opportunity to improve.
    2. Recruit high school players NOW to officiate in youth leagues, UYSA, etc. When they graduate they can help add to the pool. Maybe they won't because all they remember is how their high school coach treated officials.
    3. Administrators. Do your job. The coach should take care of his team, not the fans. Walk among the parents/fans of both home and away teams. Have a presence. Don't just stand around and wonder why things can get out of hand.
    4. Line the fields according to the rule book. Don't let parents sit right next to the field. Administrators?
    5. Parents. Don't yell, cheer. Go and certify to be a high school official. You are admittedly a better official than anyone out there. You let them know all of the time anyway.
    6. Enjoy the beauty of soccer. Don't ruin it by boorish behavior.
    7. Be positive. Everyone will enjoy the experience more.

  • red rocks Saint George, UT
    March 31, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation of yellow and red cards given by certain referees. In southern Utah there are 2 referees in particular that give out more yellow and red cards than every othe referee combined. It is very frustrating as a fan to watch a game when either one of these men referee. These referees always becomes the center of attention. The one in particular also referees football and basketball. These games also get out of control quickly. The games always get out of hand and then the referees don't know what to do but hand out cards.

  • soccer coach Taylorsville, UT
    March 31, 2014 7:20 p.m.

    UHSAA please release the reason each player was ejected, handball in the box, foul language, or two yellow cards. I agree with Bryce DeMann, until we know the why and are truly able to compare with the other sports the comparable ejections than soccer is not getting equal treatment. I also agree with Lee Mitchell, in the article, about finding out which schools are having the most problems and than punishing those schools. I coach high school soccer but have also run the chains at football games. The language of football players, coaches, and even referees is horrible and I was stunned when I heard the words they were all saying to each other. Technology is everywhere maybe the UHSAA could use video footage to encourage better officiating. Our region tried the 7 p.m. game time start so that we could get better officials but it was the same old guys that we always have. Finally, please don't throw Granger under the bus for being a horrible school as far as sportsmanship. I have worked way to hard to keep a clean program.

  • JER84119 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2014 6:32 p.m.

    As one of the certified UHSAA soccer referees, let me make a few points. In my experience, both in club and high school soccer, the biggest problems are parents. When parents get loud and obnoxious, the coaches and kids follow. Parents usually set the tone for the sportsmanship level of the game.

    Several commentators (UteUteUte and others) have remarked on the need for more referees on the field; as someone with personal experience in the game as a referee, player and coach, I can assure you that the three referees are sufficient when each of them is doing their job correctly. The 'sideline referees' have the authority to call more than offside and out of bounds, and when all three work as a team they can easily cover the field. Adding more whistles to the mix would, in my experience make things worse.

    @BusStopRatBag, there is no requirement of referees to be graded US Soccer referees, but most of the high school referees (along the Wasatch Front) are 7s, 6s, 5s or emeritus 5s or 6s and any many are certified college (NISOA) referees as well. Overall, we probably have more experience than the referee pool for most other sports.

    March 31, 2014 6:30 p.m.

    JmThms- You're correct, I forgot about our own fatality right here in the valley. Soccer brings out the worst in people.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    March 31, 2014 5:45 p.m.

    A couple people have pointed out yellow cards which lead to red cards might be counted, which would make the soccer ejection numbers misleadingly high. That might be a good argument, but if that were truly the case, don't you think that the number of coaches ejected would be the same as with other sports?

  • Frank Staheli Santaquin, ut
    March 31, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    High school football has how many officials? Five or six? Why doesn't soccer have more than one (not counting the sideline officials)?

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    March 31, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    UteUteUte, by this age, sideline refs can and do call other infractions besides offside (no s) and out of play. Happens all the time in a well ref'd game.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    The article cits "poor sportsmanship of fans, coaches and players" as significant contributing factors to this mess. Where is the demeanor and sportsmanship that should accompany citizens who in this local culture surely are taught to live and behave to a higer standard?

  • UteUteUte Bountiful, UT
    March 31, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    I am not a player or a coach or a ref at the high school level, but I love to watch sports. So please understand that this is not an indictment on the quality of the refs at all. I have always been amazed that soccer only has 1 ref to cover the entire field. One! Yes, there are sideline personnel that help with a few calls like offsides and out of bounds. But why not let them call fouls? A football field is roughly the same size and it has anywhere from 4-8 refs (from Pee Wee to the pros). Basketball has 2 or 3 in a much smaller area. Not even the best ref can expect to make excellent calls when there are 22 players all moving on a large area such as a soccer field. In basketball there are refs in areas that watch "on ball" play and others watching "off the ball". Football has refs that have very distinct roles and penalties to call. Can you really expect one person to see all play around the ball and off the ball?

  • Old Doc Thatcher, AZ
    March 31, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    It's nuts to blame the refs! Why not have the administrators, players and coaches take some responsibility. I've seen it work in other sports. One example on a varsity basketball team, if a player got a technical his parent had to sit with him on the end of the bench and he didn't play anymore that game. If a player is ejected, not just sit one game, but three. It solves the problem real quick

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    March 31, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    Didn't read ALL of the comments, but it seems that the coaches could be more effective in controlling players' behavior. Nip problems in the bud. Any "untoward" behavior or comments and you are on the bench. Let's show more interest in producing good citizens and less in scoring the most points. You can do it coaches. We are counting on you.

  • adwight AMERICAN FORK, UT
    March 31, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    BusStop - I'm sure he's referring to yellow cards which were the result of unsportsmanlike conduct, not from fouls within the game (which are going to happen no matter what). I applaud that type of philosophy because it is one that athletes need to have in life, because there are times when things don't work out as they should and you simply need to say "Yes sir" and move on. Yes it is possible to run a program with class and dignity and that is what soccer in Utah needs right now.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    March 31, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    yarrlydarb: Feel free to cite any credible information you have at your disposal that being involved in sports harms academic performance, either at the school level or the individual level. We'll all hold our breath until you come with something more compelling than the myriad studies that suggest exactly the opposite.

    The "character" part of the equation is, as far as I know, completely unproven either way. You may have a chance in the debate if you were to stick to the issue of money spent on sports, but I'm guessing you've got nothing there except assumptions.

    As long as we're operating on assumptions and anecdotal evidence to infer larger trends, I'll go ahead and guess that the "down with HS sports!" crowd doesn't have many former athletes on its side.

  • DenJohn Farmington, UT
    March 31, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    Another suggestion I'd add is to clearly separate home and away fans like is done at schools like Kearns (fans are on opposite sides of the field). As a fan the negative experiences I've seen in the stands are when opposing fans sit next to each other. Comments that would largely be ignored are responded to escalating problems because of the close proximity.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    March 31, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    hmm, do these sports build character, or do they build characters??... I think it is the later

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    March 31, 2014 12:52 p.m.


    High school sports competition is really a valuable teaching and learning experience nowadays, right?

    Wrong! Way too much money and time is consumed in junior and senior competitive sports. Way to little emphasis is placed by students, teachers, administrators and parents on academics, it seems to me.

    Character-building in sports these days? I don't think so.

  • JmThms Henderson, NV
    March 31, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    "Joey D

    Wasn't it Brazil last year where they beheaded a referee last year? The peaceful game of soccer...."

    Sorry Joey D, but I have to call attention to these ridiculous posts. Nothing personal intended. But can't just the most basic critical thinking bring you to realize that incidents like that are a result of larger cultural issues, and not the sport ITSELF?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    March 31, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    Who's in charge?

    Officials abdicating responsibility to control the game...not the outcome...the game?

    School administrators abdicating responsibility to level a meaningful consequence?

    Coaches abdicating responsibility to manage their players?

    Players abdicating responsibility to control their own behavior?

    Parents abdicating responsibility to manage themselves as well as their children?

    In the circular firing squad so popular in todays culture, each of these groups spends time pointing fingers...abdicating responsibility.

    As one DN reader commented...punish the perpetrators with meaningful behavior changing consequences.

    Once the word is out that all 5 groups indicated above are on the same page with this problem... behavior will change.

  • JmThms Henderson, NV
    March 31, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    Hey 'Go Utes!' ('Go Utes!' is bad enough)

    "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."

    It's obvious you don't like soccer. I've played, reffed and coached soccer for 30 years and have seen no more 'extreme behavioral problems' than in other American sports - in America. I'm not talking about overseas where basketball games can turn into riots also, proving that it is the culture and not the sport. Soccer will continue to grow in this country, like it or not. My suggestion to those like you is to at least learn to live with it. It will make things easier for you.

  • JmThms Henderson, NV
    March 31, 2014 12:38 p.m.

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

    Didn't we all just know that the above ridiculous 'suggestion' would be made? Huh? Didn't we all just know that? It's soccer's fault. Of course. Something about that little round ball.

  • DenJohn Centerville, UT
    March 31, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    In defense of Coach Wigham, his Viewmont team has a grand total of 0 ejections (coach or player) in 8 games so far this 2014 season. Idenfity the problem programs and fix or suspend those programs.
    As a soccer fan (both HS and club), I agree that a 2 yellow card-ejection and a conduct/behavior ejection should be categorized, reported, and treated differently. I'd also be in favor of escalating penalties for conduct/behavior ejections from 1 game to 2 games to 3 games, etc for additional offenses. Fighting could be an enhanced penalty (multiple game suspension). There could also be a yellow card accumulation rule like professional leagues do to discourage persistent rough play.
    With a maximum of 16 regular season games, I would think those on the edge would clean things up and chronic problems would be punished by their non-participation.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    March 31, 2014 12:06 p.m.

    "It is only the beginning of the end."

    Oh, the drama. An uptick in unruly behavior in Utah soccer is a sign of the impending end of days? High comedy!

    I'm a native Utah now living in St. Louis. I have four kids ages 17-11, all of whom have played multiple sports since grade school. I figure we've been through, cumulatively, 35-40 seasons of various sports, depending on how you define a "season" in club sports.

    In all this time, I've seen zero fights, a couple of coach ejections, and a couple of fan ejections. That's it. I've encountered a handful of harmlessly snotty parents, irritating coaches, and players who could use a good punch, but it's all amounted to not a whole lot.

    So I'm wondering, are the sentiments being expressed here, and the events that led to this article, an outlier? Are we exaggerating a bit? Or is Utah experiencing problems worse than other parts of the country? Or is eastern Missouri a bastion of civility? I'm honestly curious.

  • BusStopRatBag Layton, UT
    March 31, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    English Alan: "In the five years, we had one player cautioned, (yellow-carded) and no ejections."

    What ages did you manage? I can't fathom one yellow in five years unless you're managing very young children or your players keep their hands in their pockets, refuse to tackle, fight for headers, etc.

    I think most H.S. refs around here have their 8. It looks to me all the 7s are at the club matches just as the story suggests. Responsibility ultimately lies with the managers and the players, without a doubt, but things get out of hand fast when an inexperienced center ref doesn't have control of the match. The kids know it immediately and try things they'd never even consider with an experienced ref. And some of the adults in charge are likely to encourage the same. I'd love to know the stats regarding grade and experience differences between H.S. refs and club refs.

    March 31, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Wasn't it Brazil last year where they beheaded a referee last year? The peaceful game of soccer....

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    March 31, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    It's time to simply cancel the sport. If the players, coaches or parents can't control themselves, take it out of the public school system and let the thugs go at each other in private leagues. Our tax money has better use!

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    March 31, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    The coach who was quoted is a good eye into the problem. Mr. Wigam first blames the problem on the referee seeing the two coaches on the sidelines as the enemy, then goes on to accuse them of hearing problems, being too out of shape to keep up with younger players, often forty yards out of position and unwilling to get rid of some and bring in better ones. Gosh, I wonder why the refs might view coaches as adversarial? And why would kids get the idea that they're above reproach?

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    March 31, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    EnglishAlan: Perfect example of someone laying down the rules and, as shown from your history, it makes a difference. The key is getting the coach to stick to the rules no matter what...or who.

    Lew: The oft tendered complaint about the number of points scored, or the fact that a season game can end in a tie, only serves to demonstrate the lack of understanding too many people have in the beauty and skill required to play the game of fútbol. Even American football games can often end with a score of 6 to 0 which is just the same as 1 to 0. Inflating the value of a score, or completely changing the way the game is played just so there's a higher number on the scoreboard, would do nothing more than cheapen the sport so that it carries the same reduced level of quality as the likes of basketball or American football. Please don't insist we go there...

  • sherlock holmes Eastern, UT
    March 31, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    No one is talking about this, so I will. Soccer has gotten so physical at the high school level - both boys and girls. And the contact is encouraged, even coached, by the coaches. Sometimes, soccer does look more like a rugby game.

    Maybe it is time for more protective gear, and a hockey-type helmet. Then, bring on the contact.

    The soccer culture has deluded itself for decades that one official can watch the game and catch all the contact and fouls going on. A second or third official - on the field, not the sideline - would be a step forward to catching the physical play earlier and giving warnings.

  • Go Utes! Springville, UT
    March 31, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    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.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    March 31, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    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 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.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    March 31, 2014 10:52 a.m.


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

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    March 31, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    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.

  • derecha Central, UT
    March 31, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    March 31, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    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.

  • BYR West Bountiful, UT
    March 31, 2014 9:33 a.m.

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

  • FatMan86 West Jordan, UT
    March 31, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    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!

  • Pavalova Surfers Paradise, AU
    March 31, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    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.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 31, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    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.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    March 31, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    “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.

  • BryceDeMann Murray, UT
    March 31, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    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.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    March 31, 2014 5:50 a.m.

    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.)

  • Shuzzie53 HAYWARD, CA
    March 31, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    Looks like volleyball's a pretty civilized sport.

  • Referee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2014 10:53 p.m.

    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.

  • Ball Boy Payson, UT
    March 30, 2014 10:49 p.m.

    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.

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    March 30, 2014 9:17 p.m.

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

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    March 30, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    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.

  • sportsfan21 OREM, UT
    March 30, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    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.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    March 30, 2014 7:24 p.m.

    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.