Sportsmanship encompasses many aspects of athletic competition. It servers as a training opportunity as kids learn live lessons on how to cooperate and great a peaceful, just society. After all, if one cannot get along and compete in a friendly manner during a soccer game, how do we expect people of different nationalities or belief systems to get along in life.
To this end, we expect alot from ourselves as a club. We have codes of conduct for players, parents and coaches that all sign and date. We do not tolerate profanity from any members of our club. We expect players, parents and coaches to be treated respectfully at all time. We encourage reporting of transgressions to our codes of conduct. Before wins, we value sportsmanship, effort and having fun playing the GAME of soccer.
It saddens us when our opponents do not value sportsmanship or fair play.
Such was the case on July 8, 2012 when our Under-11 Boys Warriors team played the Tri-City Storm U11 Boys Black team in a game in Brookings, SD. The example of poor sportsmanship did not come from a player or a coach. It was a parent. The parent of one of the Tri-City (Fargo/Moorhead) team's players tried to verbally engage the goalkeeper of the Fargo Warriors team and distract him from playing the game; the championship game of the tournament. This parents behavior and language were witnessed by multiple adults. The analogy to an academic setting would be to have an adult try to distract a student during the taking of an exam with the sole intent of seeing their child benefit from the reduced score on the distracted student's exam.
When this parent's behavior was brought up to the Tri-City Storm coach, Kevin Roos, and then the Director of Coaching, Shea Durham, there was no apology forthcoming. The Tri-City Storm were asked to identify the parent and have him write an apology to the goalkeeper and his family. The Tri-City Storm refused to apologize or have the parent apologize. The Tri-City Storm refused to identify the parent.
Kids have the right to play the game in a non-hostile environment where their effort is valued. At no time is it appropriate to distract, harass or show poor sportsmanship towards an opponent. We try to teach the kids this lesson. Perhaps adults should learn the lesson as well.