Parents have been issued a red card from South Carolina’s largest youth soccer organization.
In response to an increase in poor behavior, South Carolina Youth Soccer Association (SCYSA) is asking moms, dads and other adult spectators to take part in "Silent September,” and to remain silent for the entire month while watching league games from the sidelines, ABC News reports.
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“We saw a real uptick in poor behavior on the sidelines by parents at all levels and ages and we just felt as if it was time in a leadership way to do something to get people's attention to start a conversation," Burns Davidson, the Rules and Compliance Chair of the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association (SCYSA) told ABC News. He added that parents have become increasingly abusive of referees, who are almost always minors as well.
"We had a situation last spring where a parent of a 10- or 11-year-old child who had got fouled went onto the field and shoved a 16-year-old referee," Davidson told ABC News. "A parent shoving a 16-year-old that's really not very appropriate."
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SCYSA sent a memo to the parents of the 30,000 league’s youth players informing them of the new initiative which requires that "all parents and visitors shall be silent during the game," for the whole of September.
"We want people to understand that their behavior at a youth soccer event in South Carolina is an important responsibility, they're there to be good ambassadors of the game, there to be good examples for their children, and they're there to enjoy their children playing," Davidson told ABC News.
We know what our mamas told us, “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” But this rule isn’t just for negative remarks. Parents will be asked to not cheer for their kids either. The request is total for silence.
Davidson said he hopes the new rule will encourage parents to reflect on why they are at a youth soccer game in the first place.