Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

“I’m not playing in this atmosphere, Dave” – what’s happened to the Respect campaign?

My left back didn’t like the aggression coming from the parents of the home team. It unnerved him as they growled and snarled their support for their players, two of them with large threatening dogs on the side of the pitch. He walked off and told me he wouldn’t play in the aggressive atmosphere that the match was being played in.

It was an U15s game. Not much fun for anyone involved. But we played on.

I was reminded of this game when I read about a match last month where a mass brawl took place and one of the players allegedly used one of the FA Respect poles holding the rope up to keep spectators a safe distance away. That’s some irony, a Respect pole being used as a weapon.

The FA’s Respect programme has a massive role to play in the grass roots game – it’s vital we all embrace it for what it is, making the evironment our players are in safe and sound. If this kind of thing is going on then players will not feel safe and sound and one of our responsibilities as coaches has been negelected.

The FA has a role to play as well in educating the grass roots so they know why this is not the kind of environment we want our players to be in.



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