Soccer season is in full swing – literally!
My daughter, a soccer player who was out of the game due to a mild concussion injury, wanted to support her team in a game against a school in LA.
We arrived at the game just around half-time because of LA traffic. My daughter ran out to join her teammates in the halftime circle on the field and forgot to bring a jacket. It was a nippy night, so I got a jacket out of the trunk of the car.
After I parked the car, I walked over towards the team to bring my daughter her jacket and couldn’t help but hear the opposing team coach screaming at her team. I overheard her say things like hurt them and hit them and started to wonder what in the world are these coaches saying to our girls? The screaming coach also accused our team of doing anything to win like throwing elbows and kicking players.
I stood there shocked and in disbelief. What is the price of victory? Violence?
When I saw another coach leave the huddle of hatred and walk over towards the 50 yard line to go into the score box, I asked him his name and told him he was a witness to the violent attitude permeating from the screaming coach.
As I walked back across the field, I passed the Referee’s who were in the middle of the field still waiting for half-time to be over. I told them I was concerned about the safety of the players had and asked where I could file a complaint. They told me to speak to the Athletic Director (“AD”). I then left the field and tried to find the AD. I was told he was there earlier, but no one knew whether he was still there.
The game commenced and I started watching.
A few minutes later, our team coach came over to me and asked me to leave the field because the opposing coach had complained about me. I was again in disbelief. I was threatened and told to leave the game simply because I wanted to file a complaint about a coach perpetuating violence?
I told our coach that I would leave and then walked away. On my way out, I finally found the AD told him what I had overheard.
As I left the game, I thought about what I had witnessed on the field this past season. After one game in Santa Monica, one of our players showed me and her mother the black and blue marks on her legs that she had gotten on the field that day. I also remembered the time my 11 year old was punched in the face by another 11 year old club soccer player. That player was red carded and asked to leave the game.
Now I was asked to leave the game? My crime, overhearing a screaming coach and wanting to stop the circle of violence.
On my way out, I made a vow. The silence on violence must end. Our world needs everyone to speak up, share their stories and be safe.
If you witness a Coach screaming at players and urging violence what will you do?