Dealing with the Coaching and Team Area

by John Puglisi, NISOA Past - President, NISOA National clinician and NISOA local assessor.

A consistent point of emphasis during our chapter business meetings has been dealing with misconduct from the coaching and team area. It’s one thing to hear a clinician talk about generalities but I wanted to share this report from one of the match officials for a local intercollegiate match (details redacted since they are not really important). 

Today I was AR1 for a mens soccer match between [HOME TEAM] and [VISITING TEAM]. I just wanted to let it be known that the coach of [HOME TEAM] was out of control the entire match. During the first half he continually complained about every call or non-call that was made. His assistant coach and medical trainer were so embarrassed they left the technical area to stand about 30 yards away and continually apologized for the actions of the head coach. They informed me that he is always like this and they are embarrassed. At half time I addressed the center official about the behavior of the coach, who said that the next time the coach acted up he would talk to him. During our conversation (at midfield in the center circle) the medical trainer for [HOME TEAM] came out onto the field and told all 3 officials that he wanted to apologize for the head coach and that at times, including today, he was embarrassed to be associated with the coach.

About 10 minutes into the second half the [HOME TEAM] coach had not stopped screaming and after loudly protesting a non offside call of AR2, I called over the referee who spoke with the coach. This worked for about 30 seconds, because as soon as the game started, so did his mouth about how terrible the officiating was. Between the 1 minute and 60 minute some of the comments made about the officiating staff to myself or said to players/bench personnel loud enough with the intention for me to hear were: “these referees suck”, “this is sh*t”, “[NAME] (center ref) is terrible”,”I pay you guys good money and you don’t deserve it”, “come on you don’t deserve your paycheck”, “learn offsides”, “your terrible”, “were losing because your clueless”, “AR2 hates us from last week, I called and complained and he got his a** chewed out, so now he’s here for revenge”, “he chose to be AR2, because he is scared of me from last week”, “AR2 sucks, you should see what he did last week”, “referee you have cards, use them”, “learn the rules”, “get in position”, “stop favoring them”, “do your job”, “this is a f*cking disgrace”, and made comments to the opposing coach and players about showing no class etc.. At one point in the game #22 from [HOME TEAM] and a forward from [VISITING TEAM] were tussling and grabbing each other on a set piece. #22 pulled the forward down in the penalty area and the coach began screaming for a dive. I informed the coach that it certainly wasn’t a dive, but both players were evenly challenging for the ball and simultaneously fouling each other. The ball went out for a goal kick. He told me if I knew what I was doing I should call a PK against him.

Also, with less than 5 minutes left (5-0 [VISITING TEAM]), both teams were at midfield and ready to sub. The center referee signaled for the clock to stop and the [HOME TEAM] coach through a tantrum because he declared “if you knew what you were doing, the clock doesn’t stop if the losing team is subbing as well”.

While I personally find the above mentioned behavior insulting and inappropriate nothing compares to the comments he began to make about AR2 with about 7 minutes left in the match. With about 7 minutes in the match to go he began to refer to AR2 as “MR [DEROGATORY ETHNIC SLUR]”. On at least 3 occasions he discussed with players and/or bench personnel the poor job that MR [DEROGATORY ETHNIC SLUR] was doing and that he would never do another game for the school. It was not only the phrase “MR [DEROGATORY ETHNIC SLUR]” but the way he spoke and stated the phrase that I found extremely unprofessional. It was demeaning, derogatory and utterly disrespectful. It was definitely said with a racist tone and as a humorous way to poke fun at the ethnicity of AR2.

Personally, I am extremely offended by the behavior of the coach, especially the derogatory remarks made regarding the ethnicity of AR2. There is no place for racism in soccer at any level, especially in soccer, where he plays a vital role in shaping the young men on his team for their future. His language and choice of words would not be tolerated in any work environment, or college classroom, but apparently the coach believes it is acceptable on the soccer field. He is wrong.

Finally, at the end of the game, prior to the handshake I spoke with the head coach of [VISITING TEAM]. He told me he wanted to apologize for the abuse I took from the opposing teams head coach and that he cannot believe this man spoke the way he did. He also informed me in a joking manner that he gets on the referees sometimes, but felt that the other team was doing enough for the both of them. He then stated “I know we won 5-0 and there were no problems on the field, but if I had known that this man ([HOME TEAM] head coach) acted and spoke like he did I wouldn’t have brought my team here and I definitely will never schedule another non-league game against this school as long as he is here.

The coach’s behavior was disgusting, especially the racist remarks he made about AR2. I am a young referee, but have officiated many games across many different levels, in many different associations and this was by far the worst behavior I have ever seen from a coach. It was also the first time I ever left a field emotionally upset at the way the man conducted himself and the way he spoke about AR2.

The coach did not receive a caution nor was ejected for this behavior.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 9:59 am and is filed under Instruction with keyword(s) . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments so far

  1. klaus mueller says:

    I don’t understand why this Coach was allowed to stay in this game until the end. Why was he not shown the Red Card, if the Referee did not have guts to throw him out, in this case i believe AR’1 should insist on getting rid off the Coach.
    Klaus National assessor.

  2. Randy Vogt says:

    A year ago, we saw clips of a women’s college match in which one player became infamous and just about everybody who saw the clip (even those who know very little about soccer) wondered why the officials (especially the referee and AR2) did not deal with the player until a caution late in the match.

    Thankfully, nobody was filming this coach discussed above so there is no video available. If there was, people would be asking how in the world the referee could have let his conduct continue throughout the match.

    My two cents worth,