From the Malden Youth Soccer Association President

May 23, 2019

Fellow MYSA members,

As many of you are aware, inappropriate conduct by players, coaches, parents and other spectators continues to be a problem for youth sports organizations nationwide. You see the incidents on the news, they go viral on the internet. Players hitting each other. Coaches screaming at players, opposing coaches or referees, etc. Parents and spectators fighting. Or worse.

Please be reminded that MYSA has Zero Tolerance for this type of behavior between and from any combination of our players, coaches, parents, guardians and spectators involved with or in attendance at any MYSA event. MYSA will not tolerate abusive, obscene or vulgar language, aggressive behavior, bullying, taunting, verbal or physical threats of any kind during any MYSA, from or toward anyone within its membership.

We, the players, coaches, parents and spectators represent not only ourselves, but our teams, Malden Youth Soccer and the City of Malden whenever we take the field, at home or away. It is the responsibility of the adults, the coaches and parents to set the example. We are the role models whose actions the players will follow. Remember, it is a game and we are here to provide the opportunity for our children to play and enjoy that game. Competitiveness, passion and intensity are healthy, encouraged and add to the game when they are positive. They detract and distract from the game when they are negative.

Everyone is out there to participate in the game and have fun. It is unacceptable for anyone to berate anyone on the field. Under no circumstances should an adult, coach or otherwise be screaming at a player, a coach or a referee of any age. The referee is there to call the game, as they observe it. The referees are human, they can and will make mistakes. The referee is someone’s daughter, son, brother, sister, mother or father out there on the field. None of us would want anyone yelling at, insulting or threatening any of our daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers or in some cases I'm sure grandparents on the field.

The coach is responsible for their own behaviour, the behaviour of their players and their spectators. During the game, anyone violating the Zero Tolerance policy will be issued a verbal warning by the referee either directly to a player or coach or through the coach for a spectator. If the inappropriate behavior continues, that player, coach or spectator may be ejected from the game and asked to leave the premises. If they refuse, the event will be stopped until such time that the person leaves the field voluntarily. If the person refuses to leave the facility, the referee may abandon the game and the league would issue a forfeit against the team that was the cause of the abandonment. Persons refusing to leave the facility may be escorted from the by the police. Sanctions up to and including suspension and expulsion from participation in MYSA events may follow.

If there is an objective issue or concern about a referee, the coach is instructed to report it in their post-game referee evaluation and not to discuss it with the referee on the field. This report is sent to the Middlesex Youth Soccer League's referee assignor and referee committee for review. These reports are used to aid in the development of the referees. Positive comments are welcome as well as the evaluations are used to identify the referees being recommended for post season play.

Issues can occur during practices too. The coaches responsibility and Zero Tolerance policy apply here as well. The coaches carry a lot of responsibility on the field. Please help and support them.

If parent(s)/guardian(s) have an issue or concern for their child or there is an issue between their child and a player or players on the team, they should raise it, respectfully, with their child's coaches, either before or after the event, whether it is a one time event or an ongoing observation or concern. If the parent(s)/guardian(s) are not satisfied with the coaches response or action, they should raise the concern to the appropriate Age Director for their child's team. If the parent(s)/guardian(s)are not satisfied with the Age Group Director's response or action, they may contact me and the issue will be addressed at the MYSA Board of Director's level.

We are all here to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our children, to develop their skills to play soccer, to help them learn to be part of a team, to learn the values of respect, integrity and good sportsmanship, to carry these lessons beyond the soccer field, and hopefully to develop a love for the game which they will carry with them long after they leave MYSA. Most importantly, we want them to feel safe and to have fun.

Please find copies of the Coaches, Parents and Players Guides to a Great Experience in the Policies & Guidelines section of the site. These are valuable guidelines to help us all enjoy the game.

Thank you for your time regarding this very important issue.

Kenneth G. Antonucci
Malden Youth Soccer Association

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