Soccer Moms and Dads Misbehaving

And then there are the jerks…Earlier this week, we sang the praises of parents who have made standing on the sidelines such a joy, but we would be remiss if we failed to mention a few others.  The list of what we are grateful for is long but, examples of soccer moms and dads misbehaving abound.  Here, on the other end of the spectrum, are those parents we will NOT miss:

Soccer Mom


Soccer moms who say bad things about other’s children, criticizing their play, their abilities or their contributions to the team.  You know who we mean.  There is the dad who grumbles about the amount of playing time someone else’s child receives, or the mom who mumbles biting comments when she thinks she sees a mistake in the play.  When it comes to other people’s children, the rule of thumb is pretty simple, STFU.


Soccer dads who demean their own children.  We once watched a father reduce his goalie son to tears.  His public humiliation of his own child left us feeling queasy and the team’s goalie was now sitting in the goal, head in hands with tears streaming down his face as the game proceeded.

soccer moms and dads who are poor sports

Premature College Talkers

Soccer moms who talk about college recruitment, starting in the fifth grade.  These parents are expressing their own anxieties, airing their hopes and fears, and winding everyone else up in the process.  They sap any fun out of watching the kids play with their constant talk of college admissions, a buzz kill if there ever was one.  The few kids who we have seen successfully find their way onto D1 college teams had parents who kept this to themselves.


Soccer dads who freeload on the kindness and generosity of others.  They ask for rides, but offer none. They are not around to help supervise, don’t have time to help with the end-of-season pizza party and never seem to be on the rotation for bringing post-game drinks.  Not sure how they do it, how they live with themselves or what their definition is of the word “team.”

Non-coach Coaches

Soccer moms who endlessly and loudly coach from the sidelines.  We believe that the kids learn to tune them out, but the parents on your right and left would have preferred a bit less volume, and pray you might keep your self-absorbed expertise to yourself once and awhile. If you don’t think the coach is doing a good job, wait for the end of the season and take your kid elsewhere.  Months of your shouting does none of us any good.

Poor Sports

Soccer dads from opposing teams who take the game way more seriously than they should, escalating the competition to the point to where words become shouts and physical confrontations.  Suddenly, there is more attention drawn to parents shoving and yelling at each other than the action on the field.  We have seen this once too often and it is really not pretty.

Ref Beraters

Soccer moms who scream at the refs.  Refereeing kids games is a thankless, and far from lucrative, endeavor.  When the players are young, the refs are often kids, as well.  Few refs are biased, some are incompetent and most are just out there doing their best for minimal pay. Parents who stand on the sidelines shouting at the refs undermine the lesson every other parent is trying to teach their kid about respect for authority and the fact that the calls will not always go your way on the field or in life.

The beauty of being a sideline soccer mom, or a parent of a kid who plays any sport, is that there are far more folks bearing coffee and blankets than complaints and grievances. But there are a few to whom we will happily say farewell.



  1. says

    oh my, do not get me started.
    one time, after witnessing for the umteenth time, this one Dad belittle his son at a swim meet, I left an anonymous note on a his car…”You are a Bully!”. I am always so disturbed with parents who cross that line out in public and think “Wow, if this is how they yell in public? What do they do behind closed doors? ” and I have now been around the sports scene long enough to see some of those bullied little kids turn into big kid Bullys themselves. It needs to stop.

  2. Emily says

    Amen. I once saw a dad berate his kid on the golf course during a tournament. He was loud and humiliating his son because he missed a putt. I was shocked to see this behavior in golf, which is supposed to be a “refined” and somewhat “quiet” sport. I felt like I was at a hockey game instead. Unfortunately as I learned that day, you see those types of parents in all sports.

  3. mike says

    I have to admit, I was once a ref berater. I would get caught up and yell, never anything I thought was too terrible. I stopped cold turkey the day I saw that my comments had made a young ref tear up (as in ready to cry). What a jackass I realized I was. I found the ref after the game and apologized for my actions and after that I kept my mouth shut except to cheer on my girl.

    • says

      MIke, to your credit you apologized and changed your ways. Some parents never see themselves and how destructive they are.

  4. says

    And THIS is why I had such ambivalent feelings about children’s sports. How many of those kids go on to play college sports? Practically none.

    • says

      The numbers are slim for kids playing in college – youth sports can be such a positive experience but when adults behave badly, whew!

  5. Carpool Goddess says

    My husband used to volunteer as coach and it was amazing how rude and ungrateful some of the parents (and their children) could be. It takes all the fun out of the experience.

  6. Becky Blades says

    No, I will not miss the sports parent bullies. I will not miss sitting in the stands and watching the embarrassed high school girl turn around from the basketball bench with pleading eyes, appealing to her dad to stop yelling at the ref. Or the 5th grader mortified when her dad gets a technical foul that costs her team. Don’t these parents get that the kids are watching?

  7. Helene Cohen Bludman says

    Oh yes, I have known these people. It is such an embarrassment for the kids, and such a poor example for the parents to set.

  8. says

    Oh brother, if I encounter any situation where it’s almost impossible not to act, it’s this one. It’s no better than seeing a child being screamed at in the supermarket. And yet, at a sporting event – where competitive anger is a ready motive – we cringe and look the other way. I would never approach a belligerent stranger, but a private, concerned word with the coach can go a long way. Someone should act anytime child is publicly reduced to tears. How despicable. I appreciate your bringing them into the light.

    • says

      Susan, good idea to suggest a private word with a coach, one that is out of the heat of the moment is at least worth a try.

    • says

      Thank you for the link to your story about your grandfather. I love this line: “We won a lot of games, but he taught us that being a good person is more important than winning. He built character.” Fortunately, there are more good people, like your grandfather, helping kids learn about sports and characters than the bad guys we wrote about here. At least, we hope there are.

  9. Shannon Bradley-Colleary says

    I’ve been an AYSO referee and many time my whistle wanted to find its way up a parent’s ass.

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