As a lifelong United States Youth Soccer Community member, my journey spanning over 50 years has been fueled by an unwavering passion for creating a better playing environment for our players. My steadfast goal has always been to ensure fairness, maintain peaceful play, promote the well-being of all, and secure the joys of participating in soccer for a lifetime!
Given the alarming rate of players quitting in mind, I would like to introduce for consideration and implementation the ‘FUNdamental SOCCER Bill of Rights’ to the United States Youth Soccer Community.
Article I. Equal Opportunities:
Players, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic background, or ability, should have equal access to soccer opportunities, facilities, and resources.
Article II. Safe and Inclusive Environment:
Players should participate in an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, or any form of abuse.
Article III. Access to Quality Coaching:
Players have the right to well-trained, knowledgeable, and supportive coaches who prioritize skill development, safety, and character building over winning at all costs.
Article IV. Ability-Appropriate Competition:
Players should compete against others of similar skill levels to ensure a positive and developmentally appropriate experience.
Article V. Balanced Schedules:
Players have the right to a balanced schedule that allows them to pursue other interests, maintain a healthy school-life, and avoid burnout.
Article VI. Input and Feedback:
Players have the right to provide input on their soccer experience and to be heard regarding their needs, concerns, and goals.
Article VII. Education on Sportsmanship:
Players should receive education on the Laws of the Game, sportsmanship and the importance of fair play!
Article VIII. Parent and Guardian Support:
Parents and guardians should provide encouragement and support without undue pressure or unrealistic expectations.
Article IX. Financial Accessibility:
Financial situations should not prevent any player from participating in soccer. Financial aid or scholarships should be available when needed.
Article X. Rest and Recovery:
Players should have designated rest and recovery periods to prevent overtraining and injuries.
Guideline I. Accountability and Reporting
If you witness any action or behaviors that violate the principles outlined, you are encouraged to speak up!
Parents or guardians who observe any violation of these articles should take the following steps:
- First, kindly and respectfully address the matter with the individual(s) involved.
- If addressing the issue directly does not resolve the concern, please report the incident to your organization.
Those entrusted with the well-being of our children should be responsible for their conduct, ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment for all!
Guideline II. Lifelong Enjoyment:
The primary goal of youth soccer should be to instill a lifelong love of physical activity and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
By following these ‘FUNdamental Articles and Guidelines,’ I am confident we can create a brighter future for our soccer participants, ensuring their lifelong love for the game.
However, just as our country’s founders tailored the Constitution to fit different needs, you must adapt these ‘Rights’ to suit your soccer communities.
This ‘Bill of Rights’ isn’t a magical solution but requires a collective effort, including education and everyone’s support.
So, I invite you, dear reader, to actively engage with me, share your ideas and opinions, and join me in shaping the playing environment for our players. Together, WE can make a real difference in the future of youth soccer. Because …
Please Share Your Thoughts & Join This Cause!
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the following individuals for their valuable contributions in shaping this document. Bill Howe, Denise Plumb, Jeannette Dewazien, Mike Smiley, Ric Granryd, and Wes Crockett.