Two coaches were suspended Wednesday, one for the season, for arguing and an attempted assault during a youth soccer game on Sunday.
On Feb. 20, during a soccer game for 16- and 17-year-olds at Renegade Sports Center, two assistant coaches from rival teams began arguing with each other. The yelling became more intense, with both men getting face-to-face, leading to one of the coaches pointing a finger in the other one’s face.
Angered, the other coach tried to punch the finger-pointing man. Bill Kane Jr., director of Renegade Sports and a correctional officer, was refereeing the game, and managed to block the punch before it landed.
The coach who threw the punch was immediately kicked out of the arena. After three days of thinking about it, Kane suspended the finger-pointing coach for one game, and banned the fist-throwing coach for a year from the sports center.
“It is just another case of parents putting themselves above what this is about -- the kids,” Kane said. “We are just not going to tolerate this kind of stuff.”
Police were not called, and the names of the coaches were not released.
Kane sent an email to all the families with children in the league about his decision. The problem is that coaches and parents getting out of control is not an isolated event, but something that happens often, Kane said.
Soccer Gone Too Far?
Renegade Sports Center hosts indoor soccer games throughout the winter. Spectators come out in droves, bringing cowbells and air horns and the place gets loud, Kane said.
The problem is all that energy sometimes goes too far. Parents and coaches alike often scream at kids and referees, he said.
“I coach, too, and when I coach it is all about developing the players,” Kane said. “Some of these guys come in and it is just about winning at any cost. They don’t care about anything other than winning that game.”
Coaches will often shout at referees, many of whom are teenagers, Kane said. That is not going to be tolerated, Kane said.
“What kind of example does that set, in front of the kids,” he said. “It has to be all about the kids. I cannot worry about the parents.”
Parents are equally passionate about the games. Kane has received more than 3,000 emails this season alone, many regarding complaints about the rules or disputing scores, he said.
Exceptions, Not The Rule
While there are many examples of out-of-control parents and coaches, that is hardly the norm, Kane says. Most coaches are coaching for the kids, and most parents just want to see their children succeed, he said.
“Ninety percent of our people just love being there and are all about the kids,” Kane said. “The people who give us problems make up a very small percent of the population, but they are there.”
Since he sent the email informing parents about the suspension, more than 50 have written back, all positive, Kane said. And Renegade has strict rules to ensure nothing inappropriate happens at any level, Kane said.
“We even enforce a no-swearing rule for our adults,” he said. “There are kids who go to those games, and we don’t want them exposed to any of that.”
Adults caught swearing receive a two-minute penalty for the first offense, Kane said. If they are caught swearing again, they are suspended for one game, he said.