Sportsmanship Message

September 21, 2022

TCSL Club Leaders, Coaches, Parents and Players:

As we enter the third weekend of Fall TCSL play, it is a good time to remind you of our expectation regarding behavior at all TCSL matches.

TCSL staff attended several matches this past weekend and observed, or heard about, several occasions of poor sportsmanship.

It left me with this thought: what the heck are we doing?

  • A parent decided to walk across the field at halftime to berate two adult officials about their performance in the first half.
  • A coach decided to approach the opposing coach in the parking lot after the match to give him his opinion about how he coached, leading to unnecessary conflict.
  • A parent yelled “you shouldn’t be refereeing” to a minor assistant referee after what he thought was a missed throw-in call. The referee was reduced to tears.

We are also aware of many instances where there aren’t enough available officials to staff all games. In one case, a club director filled in to officiate a 9U match due to the lack of available officials.

Soccer is a game which sees players, coaches and yes, referees, making errors on a regular basis. The game of soccer is imperfect, which contributes to its beauty. Mistakes are inevitable, in every soccer game, but it is the adults that can set a positive example by being accepting of mistakes even in the most competitive of circumstances.

Referees must be treated with respect, for without them, we will see more and more games being rescheduled due to a lack of officials willing to work. These officials are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers – if they were yours, how would you like others to treat them?

As we watched matches over the weekend, it was evident that most soccer parents are calm, level-headed and simply want their children to enjoy the game. They let the referees referee, the coaches coach, and the players play. Unfortunately, a few reckless individuals can ruin the experience for everyone else.

Those that cannot control themselves on the sideline, those that cannot appreciate the beauty of the game that it is, those that frequently lose control of perspective and of themselves over the course of a youth soccer game … are asked to please stay home. Leave the game and its enjoyment to others.

TCSL will continue to not only reinforce this message with its member clubs, but will take action as necessary if and when TCSL Code of Conduct violations occur.


Matt Tiano
Twin Cities Soccer Leagues


TCSL Code of Conduct

Match Reporting & Feedback Form

Take the Sideline Project Course

TCSL Policy on Misconduct Against Referees