San Diego youth soccer league’s ‘Silent Saturday’ aims to ban parents cheering at games
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – KUSI News has obtained an email sent to all parents from the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) informing parents that they are implementing a “Silent Saturday.” The league doesn’t want parents to cheer for their kids during the game in order to “allow kids to just play and have fun.”
A parent who’s 6-year-old son plays in the AYSO soccer league forwarded us the entire email announcing the implementation of “Silent Saturday.”
The email is below:
Silent Saturday is used in AYSO Regions throughout the country. Its main purpose is to allow kids to just play and have fun. Silent Saturday is a throwback to the old schoolyard days when kids would congregate after school and on weekends just to play all day, without regard to who was winning and repercussions for poor play and decision-making. Coaches are requested to communicate and reinforce this with spectators!
The objectives of Silent Saturday are:
- To emphasize that the game is about letting the kids have fun and play.
- To show that kids can play well on their own with limited instruction.
- To help the few parents and coaches who feel they must provide constant direction, understand how disruptive it can be.
- To give players the chance to trust their skills and instincts without sideline input.
- To encourage leadership skills among the individual players as they have the unique opportunity of giving their own instruction on the field.
- To encourage a sense of true teamwork as the players must learn to rely upon one another and communicate with each other accordingly.
- To support our volunteer referees, both youth and adult, by eliminating sideline interference and comments.
While the vast majority of adult verbal participation is intended to be positive and constructive, the fact of the matter is that the games have become so loud that players often have difficulty hearing and communicating with each other on the field. Taking one week off from any verbal interference, may help adults gain perspective on just how loud they’ve been in the past. Hopefully, this effect will carry over into games in the weeks that follow.
Silent Saturdays have been tried in communities all over the country. While there have been mixed reviews on Silent Saturdays, it has been successful overall. We ask for your support and patience at this event in hopes that the players will have a unique experience of playing soccer, while allowing their coaches, parents and spectators to sit and enjoy watching their children play soccer.
We request that you make no verbal comments about the game or direct any comments to the players, referees or coaches. Only clapping IS allowed! Be creative in how you choose to cheer your child’s team – make signs to hold up or bring a rally towel in the team’s color and wave it wildly. But please no horns, whistle or noise-makers.
It is recommended that you do not provide any direction – verbal or non-verbal – to players who are on the field. Speak to the team before the match, at substitution breaks and at halftime as you normally do. During the match, speak quietly to players on the bench about the game. If required, quietly call a player on the field over to the touchline to provide tactical instruction. Then let them convey the message to the team.
While on the field, you are encouraged to speak to each other as normal. Continue to support and provide direction to each other, as you have in the past. Substitute players on the bench, should remain quiet and not cheer or provide tactical instruction to their teammates, lest they simply replace the coach or act on their behest.
For this special day, referees are asked to monitor the spectators and coaches’ adherence to these guidelines and to offer reminders if the recommendations are not being followed. Some folks may need to be reminded that the match may be suspended if Silent Saturday rules are not being followed. Continue to verbalize often during the game as you normally do. You are there to help the players have a safe, fair and fun time.
Guidelines to help support Silent Saturday:
• Silent Saturday does not apply to the Jamboree/VIP/Matrix.
- Coaches and parents/spectators in ALL other divisions are asked to observe the rules of Silence of the day.• No one except the referee(s) and the players can talk during the game.
- Coaches should provide minimal direction to players who are on the field. Minimal direction means letting a player know which position (forward, midfield, defense) a player is supposed to be playing. Coaches may speak to players who are on the bench.
- Coaches are permitted to speak to their players during substitution breaks, at halftime and before the game. Coaches may quietly speak to their players on the sidelines, giving them instructions to carry out on the field, such as “Joey, I want you to switch positions with Tommy, and make sure Billy gets a chance to do a throw-in, ok?” Nothing more than this type of example. Giving instruction ACROSS the field is NOT encouraged.
- Coaches are expected to fully understand, cooperate and communicate to every team member and parent the goal, philosophy and expected behavior of Silent Saturday.
- Each team is to self-assign a field monitor parent on their sidelines of their game. However, ultimately it is the responsibility for the coach to control his/her sidelines. If necessary, the coach can communicate that referees will be reminded that failure to follow these guidelines will result in the suspension of the match.
- Parents and spectators are to remain quiet for the duration of the game. They are not to direct any comments to the players or referee(s) – on or off the field.
• Parents are encouraged to applaud/clap – as this is the ONLY way to cheer during Silent Saturday. Absolutely no horns, whistle or noise-makers.
Let’s always encourage and support our players while they are learning and playing the game, but for this one Saturday, “Mum’s the Word.”