SWFL Soccer Association makes new rule to monitor parents

A new policy means local youth soccer teams will have to provide marshals at the games to make sure parents behave.

The Southwest Florida Soccer Association announced new rules that requires each home team have a field marshal to keep parents on the sidelines in check.

“There are fist fights,” John Prater said. “They shouldn’t witness that kind of behavior from adults.”

The youth soccer association said some adults aren’t setting a good example for their kids, and parents such as Thomas are tired of the unsportsmanlike conduct.

“It’s unfortunate that parents can’t behave themselves and just let the kids play and have fun,” Shannon Thomas said.

Thomas has been a soccer mom for the past 5 years, and she’s seen a lot happen on the sidelines.

“At our last game we had a parent run onto the field during the game yelling at the ref,” Thomas said.

Thomas said it is time for some parents to get benched.

“She interrupted the game,” Thomas said. “She took time off the game. She really influenced the game, and it disadvantaged the kids.”

The marshals will wear bright vests and have the authority to discipline parents who get out of line.

The association said parents who show violent behavior will be brought before the executive board for disciplinary action, including probation, suspension or expulsion of the team.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Thomas said.

Still, most parents believe those who have shown bad behavior should be more accountable for it.

“They should know how to monitor their own behavior instead of relying on an external source to censor their behavior,” Tish Reid said.

Writer:Jack Lowenstein