When Adults Screw Up a Soccer Game

A few weeks back, my close friend was putting on a large division 3 tournament. The tournament was a major success outside of one unfortunate situation with a coach that made a really bad decision. Unfortunately, one bad decision by an adult that should have known better cost the kids a win.

The championship game went fine, with a final score of 2-1. The only problem is, the team that won decided to bring two guest players onto the team from another team from the same club that had already been eliminated. The obvious problem was, guest players were not allowed, and the coach knew it. Even worse, the team was from the home club putting on the very tournament!

The opposing coach didn’t bring it up before the game, and only brought it up to tournament staff after the game was played. Admittedly, the coach could have brought it up beforehand, but probably figured no big deal since the teams had played previously to a very lopsided score the other way. It really didn’t matter because the other coach created the entire situation. As it played out, it appears the two guest players may have made the difference.  What a perfect entry for the Ugly Truth category!

Luckily my friend is an experienced tournament director, and decided to  act quick and award the 1st place trophies to the losing team, and disqualified the other team. A fair decision, but once the integrity of the game is called into question, does it matter who wins? The coach that set in motion this turn of events showed very poor decision making and sportsmanship, and set a horrible example for his players, who wondered why they had won the game, yet come in second. The simple answer is, because the adults ruined it.

Outside of the initial punishment of finishing in second, what do you think should happen to this coach? I thought, given our subscribership to the newsletter, this would be a good chance to hear what you all think, and I will gladly forward the most insightful responses to the committee that will decide the punishment. Keep in mind, this person knew they were breaking the rules, and holds a high level coaching position within the club.

Scott C Scott C (178 Posts)

Soccer player, coach and fan. Creator of SoccerDrillBook.com


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Posted by Scott C
Category: Ugly Truth | Comments (32)

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32 Comments in When Adults Screw Up a Soccer Game

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John

/ Oct 6, 2011

I would remove him from his current position, remove him from the club permanently, and report the incident to the state association as well.

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Tom

/ Oct 6, 2011

I have been in this spot and did the same thing as a coach. Playing in an indoor season ending event. We went in as the worst ranked team. We had a freindly agreement with another team that my kid would play with them if we lost and someone from the other team would play with us if they lost to us in the first game. We all did it in good fun as no one expected the 7th or 9th seed to do anything. Well we won the damn thing – one team who lost in the semis complained (and they only complained as he lost to me and no other reason). In advance of the final we told the other team we had a dual rostered player – they did nt care as they just wanted to play. A week later the sports place took away our title. but the girls kep the T-shirts.

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Jimmy Lessentine

/ Oct 6, 2011

I think this is a horrible situation. I have been at events where my group might play 2 possible 3 teams from the same club. With this they were allowed to have roster so inflated that they were able to move their players to float between teams. My club plays under a player pool system so we might be taking a different team to each tourney but never change the team during the tourney. We do this for development reasons. This coach was not developing anything but his record. For that reason he should be removed from his position not the club. The officials at the should know if he is a good coach or not but they should worry more about the players and the club image. for far to long in this country we have wanted to be winners at any cost. this leads to problems at the national level look anywhere else in the world at the youth ages they do not care about about wins. a coach is measured by the players they have developed not by medals. He should be made responsible if only to teach his players to do the right thing in life. if it happened at my club i would called for them to be fired because it calls the club and me into question when we go to other tourneys.

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Darren

/ Oct 6, 2011

This does not surprise me as adults “cheat” in the real world every day. I wonder what this coach does for a living and if he has cheated there too? Unfortunately, this attitude of “win at all cost” only continue as we face these tumultuous times economically and try to gain every advantage. The children are the real losers and have to learn a tough lesson. Hopefully, their parents tell them the truth regarding the consequences of the actions of these “role models.”

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Jimmy Lessentine

/ Oct 6, 2011

Tom i think your situation is a bit different you went to the people. You did it right however even the other teams said they didn’t care they did once they lost. you tried to do the right thing. this coach only wanted to win. he created a situation with 3 sets of players on his own team. the new players the players who’s time was cut short on the field because of these players and the all of the players that may have played the game of their lives to only have their efforts trashed because their coach broke the rules of his own tourney that if he is a high official at the club helped write the rules for fair play.

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Oscar

/ Oct 7, 2011

What I think if this was his first time doing that, he should be suspended from his position for a month without payment and not let him take a team for tournaments . Everybody deserve a second chance in life , I think that all he wanted to do was to bring happiness to his group without realizing how bad this could look to others. But he also should realize that football is like a playstation or xbox game. If you lose today just press start again and have a go next time and keep trying your best and never give up. You can be beating 100 times but there is always one time when you can win and everybody should be proud of it.
Nobody’s perfect and I’m sure he will learn from this experience .
All the best to everybody

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Jeff

/ Oct 7, 2011

I was in an indoor tournament where a coach pulled the same stunt. His particular club had two teams in the bracket, a ‘white team’ and a ‘blue team’. It seems the blue team’s coach couldn’t make an earlier game and forfeited. He then told his blue players they could play later if the white team advanced. My team was to play the white team in the finals. Knowing the club players on the other team pretty well, we noticed many blue players on the bench and entering the game.
I called foul as the blue players weren’t on his roster and was awarded first place with the ‘white team’ being disqualified.
The bad part in all this was the other team was furious and I was branded a jerk. The girls on the other team who knew my players (many in the same school/grade)passed on that I ‘told on them’. I was very difficult to be branded the bad guy when the other coach cheated. Finally, when my daughter started hearing grief from some of the white team, a mohter I know who’s daughter played on the white team sent a scathing message to the white team coach, the league and all the parents explaing that their coach cheated, and was pointing the ‘bad guy’ finger at the wrong guy. Her message “what, the other coach is a jerk for calling out cheating?… and further, is this what you want your daughter taught as a player; that it’s ok to cheat if you don’t get caught”? This finally blew over, but at the U14 level it was a statement to the league that coaches will sometimes do anything to win…and then get their players believing they were the victims.

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Bob

/ Oct 7, 2011

Perhaps a 5 game suspension from touchline coaching.
Removal from the club might be a bit extreme.
If the coach is paid, then he should not be for those 5 games.

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Mike D.

/ Oct 7, 2011

Truly a shame. I coached 5/6th graders and had an experience like this within a local school league. Its cheating/unethical and sends a bad message to the kids. There is nothing wrong with losing a fair game and kids understand this, why do some adults not?

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Scott Porter

/ Oct 7, 2011

I am not suprised. We had a game this season where one of better players was hit hard in the face by a ball in the first half. I didn’t think nothing of it. Then in the second half, we had another and she was hit in the mouth and bled and had to leave. Later, trailing 2-1, we had a girl steal it and was getting ready to shoot when she was tackled and knocked down hard. Football tackled as in American. The rev did do squat, but five minutes later called a ghost pushing call on my best player as she was heading for the goal. We beat this team 2-1 last time we played. Turns out, my parents were livid as they were targeting our players by kicking the ball at the faces of mine. This is what my parents overheard. All of them. Their parents did not hide this. Last season, when we beat them. I had an incident with one of them in the parking lot. Afterwards,
I told him if he ever approaches me like that again, I won’t be so nice. So, I am not suprised by anything.

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Sam

/ Oct 7, 2011

This happens way too often and is heighten in the Competitive Divisions. The NorCal League we play in allows dual rostered players with the idea that kids on developmental teams can play up at times during the season. Great Idea! The problem is that a number of Coaches use this dual roster to play down star players on the developmental teams just to win. These games are not fun to watch as it is clear that two or three players are much better so nobody learns new skills. This practice seems to be mostly the Professional Coaches that are employed by clubs. These Coached may be under pressure to win to keep their positions, I’m not sure. The move from Parent Coaches to the Professional Coaches has really changed the original spirit that families had in mind when they signed their kids up to play soccer.
Sam

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Andy

/ Oct 7, 2011

I agree 100% with John. He should be immediately struck off from the Accredited Coaches List and his license withdrawn.

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Gary

/ Oct 7, 2011

Sounds like this Coach wanted to win at all costs. My main concern would be for the children who missed out as a result of the players being drafted in. I thought we became Coaches to help develop children. I Coach U16′s with the majority of the players having been with me since the age of 8. The greatest satisfaction for me is that they are all still together – have become good friends – enjoy it and have all developed as young men and players. Win at all costs? I think not!!!

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James

/ Oct 7, 2011

Hmmm – Not quite as black and white as it seems. On the one hand, the coach clearly violated the rules and sanctions have already been handed down.

On the other, the players on the ‘winning’ team were handed a loss and placed 2nd. Very harsh for the kids.

So here is what I take from it, the coach should receive a suspension for 1 year. He or she could use the time to put their volunteer efforts into another area of the club if they so chose. This coach might also step away from the game permanently rather than be penalized and that is where another issue comes into play – there is already a shortage of coaches and that is why many coaches get away with that kind of behaviour or worse.

In essence if the club in question is living up to its stated values (integrity, fair play, etc), suspend or ban the coach and be done with it.

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Jody

/ Oct 7, 2011

Let’s be real people, the fact of the matter is, what he did was wrong. Let’s think about this in a slightly different light, if the NY Giants lose in semi-finals and the Indianapolis Colts move on to the Superbowl, does Eli get to play for Peyton because he is in better health and they are brothers, so it’s OK? HELLO, it’s not! It appears from other comments that this is a situation that occurs regularly, this upsets me as a tournament director and coach. You dedicate so much to your team and if you are in it only to win rather than to develop youth physically and emotionally, there are flaws in your reasoning for coaching.

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WM

/ Oct 7, 2011

Incredibly harsh on the 9 Kids who were the in the vast majority that done nothing wrong but play Soccer.

I think more to the point of stripping the Guy of his Coaching role etc more should be done to find out WHY he REALLY done what he did..

Was the pressure to win REALLY that bad for the Guy ??

If so, where was the pressure coming from & why ??

Maybe then you could get to the real root of the problem here..

Just dismissing him from Coaching altogether without finding out what REALLY happened will not solve future problems, but getting to the root of this particular case, could..

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Jamal

/ Oct 7, 2011

If the losing coach knew about the guest players before the game and did not object, then his silence is equivalent to his consent. I mean what a great tactic by the losing coach to guarantee 1st place no matter what – he probably was thinking that he won’t object to the guest players, and if his teams wins then so be it, if the other team wins he can object to them having guest players and get appointed as the winner; end result, win-win situation.

I don’t think the winning team should’ve been stripped from their win! The tournament’s director decision was the wrong one, and he should not have reversed the result!

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Scott Clark

/ Oct 7, 2011

No one can take away you’re integrity – you have to give it away.

Creighton Abrams.

Always play honest, the worst thing that can happen is you’re setting an example of grace under pressure, that will in some young mind be remembered later when in matters most.

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janet butle

/ Oct 7, 2011

I agree you with you.

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janet butle

/ Oct 7, 2011

My daghter play in a recetional league. The teams in this league bearly have enought to field their team.
I should also add they play just for fun. The oppoising coach brought on 5 elite players (5 extras and he did not think anyone would notice) this players did not sit out there for the kids who payed to play sat out. These players tripped body checked and banged our kids up.(boys and girls) Our coach call the head person and then said if you are not a registered player of the league get off the field. The opposing coach yelled something and took off Off the field
got in his truck and threw gravel every were. Thank goodness no children were in the parking lot. I think hes should be band from coaching. I don’t want my children to learn that, that is acceptable.

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OK JamesC

/ Oct 7, 2011

“the team that won decided to bring two guest players onto the team from another team from the same club that had already been eliminated. The obvious problem was, guest players were not allowed, and the coach knew it.” We here these stories all the time from all over the country and nothing is ever done about it. The fact of the matter is that the coach new the tournament rule and still cheeted, plain as day cheeted. If you do not remove him from his job and mark his license as a tournament rules violator then you are just as guilty as he is and also part of the problem.

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heather

/ Oct 7, 2011

I feel rules are rules! We don’t teach children anything by not following the rules, period. That coach, or any coach, that doesn’t follow the rules needsto be made an example of, since the right example wasn’t set in the first place. He needs to be removed and reported.

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brian robson

/ Oct 7, 2011

problem i see here is that i dont agree with what he did but i see no difference in catholic schools allowing ANY catholic kid from any school to play for there school team.i know of some schools with great players leaving there team to go play for catholic schools because they can recruit. however this guy is in the whole thing for himself. its like Vasity players playing for JV teams when there are 10 JV players sat on the bench. kids need to learn by both winning and losing. how many coaces out there responding to this article play varsity players in their JV teams? cheating is cheating. cast a stone comes to mind.

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brian robson

/ Oct 7, 2011

shouldnt the ref or organisers have picked up on this before the game started. i assume they turned in a team roster.

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Soccernut

/ Oct 7, 2011

The opposition coach should have notified tournament officials before the game started and let them handle it up front the first half was ever played.

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Scott Carlson

/ Oct 7, 2011

I don’t agree that the coach should have brought it up before, in my opinion, give someone a rope and let them hang themselves. Besides, who knows if he really noticed before the game started, or once the game got under way, and now the team has two new super fast, skillful players that didn’t play in the first game (0-6 the other way).

The offending coach made a bad decision, and put everyone else on the spot. In my opinion, he should be fired, since he in an employee of the club in question.

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WM

/ Oct 8, 2011

Exactly..

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WM

/ Oct 8, 2011

But Scott, if the other Team’s Coach KNEW beforehand, like was suggested in the initial article, then he SHOULD have brought it up beforehand as now it seems to suggest that the only reason he brought it up AFTER is because his Team lost which is wrong. It shouldn’t matter the result of the Game, what’s wrong is wrong win, lose or draw.

However, like someone else brought up, what were the Officials doing ??

A complete mess from top to bottom unfortunately & you could point the fingers in lots of directions for lots of reasons but the sad reality is, that it’s the Kids who ultimately suffer the most..

Thumbs down..

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Mike M.

/ Oct 8, 2011

Pointing fingers makes no sense. Those who did wrong know they did just that. If the coach had gotten away with the win, the win would not have felt as good as true victory feels. Let’s take that away from the kids who got to the finals without the two “star” players With that being said, whoever is part of that organization should take the steps necessary to remove this coach from his position. What does it tell the players on the team when you have to bring others in to help you win. The shame this coach should feel, would make most people quit out of embaressment. Hopefully he was just a coach and not a parent to one of the team members.

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Ravelo Saluria

/ Oct 9, 2011

In my opinion, everyone involved in this tournament should be blamed and held accountable for the result of the said match:
Organizer- for failure to establish a fool-proof system of checking the identity/eligibility of players.
Match Commissioner- for failure to check the list of eligible players for that particular game.
Match Referees- for failure to double check.
Offending Coach- for his intention to cheat to win.
Cheating Players- if they knew beforehand that they will be cheating.
Parents of cheating players- if they gave permission to their kids to play even if they
knew beforehand that they will be cheating.
Losing Coach- if he knew beforehand that the opposing line-up includes 2 ineligible
players.
DEGREE OF CULPABILITY (scale of 1 to 10) / Recommendation
Organizer – 9 – Election of new set of officers
Match Commissioner- 10 – Expulsion from the league and forfeiture of match pay
Match Referees – 8 – Appropriate suspension and forfeiture of match pay.
Offending Coach- 11 ! – Suspension fm the League and expulsion fm the team.
Cheating players (if guilty) – 9 – Appropriate suspension fm the League
Parents (if guilty) – 10 – Ban fm watching the League games for appropriate period.
Losing Coach – 12 ! ! – A mere reprimand fm the League . Anyway, the shame he
got for his malicious unsporting act is enough already to
haunt him for the rest of his career.
A person taking advantage of the bad deeds of others for his own personal interest is far worse than the doer himself.

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Kimberly C.

/ Oct 10, 2011

My experience is only in rec soccer, but we do have tournaments and we do enter some of our rec teams in bigger state tournaments. I think once a team roster is formed, submitted, and accepted then there should be NO changes; with the exception of players who are injured BEFORE tournament begins and a new player is approved by the tournament committee.

That being said, this particular coach knew what he was doing was wrong and therefore should be disciplined according to their association/state policies. I would add to that a public letter of apology to the participants of that tournament (sponsors, kids, parents, and other coaches). If this coach continues to participate in soccer, it should be as an assistant coach/trainer but not as head coach. Otherwise this coach should be banned from the club/association he/she is with and a notation made on this coaches record with the state.

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Scott Carlson

/ Oct 10, 2011

Ravelo,

Thanks for the reply, but I think you are being a little harsh = )

#1, the tournament official is a volunteer. Get rid of him, all it leaves is finding someone else to organize it. Keep in mind this is not the highest levels of competitive youth soccer, but a step or two down, and most kids are there for fun first and competition second. Next, the Match Commissioner, or Field Marshall is also a parent volunteer with little to no training, and well, you get the picture.

In my opinion, the responsibility lies 100% with the offending coach because the buck has to stop somewhere. Yes you could blame the kids (11 year olds) or parents, but the fact is the rules for guest players are different here in California depending on what body is sanctioning the tournament, and it is up to the coach to know the rules and abide by them, especially at a tournament hosted by his own club!

It is actually pretty absurd, as I pointed out in this post awhile back concerning Guest players in US Club Soccer:

http://www.soccerdrillbook.com/us-club-soccer-guest-player-rule/

Regardless, this coach is a paid employee and should be fired!

Scott

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