Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Red carding a parent

davidscwnewHave you ever had to deal with a parent who was so aggressive you had to take him to one side and threaten to expel him and his child from your team?

This week I had to do exactly that. Two players in my team had been winding each other up in school, and although I knew they had history, there were never any problems that spilt over into the team… until one of the dads got involved, that is.

A relatively innocuous incident in training was enough to make the whole thing explode. John and Peter (not their real names) were on opposing teams in the small-sided game we were playing. The former had already scored two great goals – much to his watching dad’s delight. When he tried nutmegging Peter there was an untidy coming together, from which Peter emerged with the ball.

“No, no, no,” shouted his dad, “I’m not having that! Free kick! You should be keeping your eye on this ‘problem’”.

I reacted only by explaining it was a fair tackle. But then a similar incident followed soon afterwards, and this time it was a foul. Before I could stop play John’s dad was on the pitch pacing towards Peter. I had to intervene, calm him down and get him off the pitch. I’m not sure what would have happened had I not managed to keep his dad at arm’s length.

We got to the end of training with no further incidents, but when Peter’s dad came to pick him up, I told him there was friction and it would need to be sorted at some point.As for John’s dad, under no circumstances can I accept this sort of behaviour at my coaching sessions. I told him I would ban him if it happened again. He accepted he had crossed the line and has promised to remain calm in future.

John is a great player and an asset to the club but if I did ban his dad he is likely to leave. Yet it is in the best interests of the club to reprimand a parent if something like this happens. Under no circumstances can repeated aggressive parental behaviour be overlooked; it sets a ridiculous example.

In the end, the team is more important than the individual, even when – such as in this case – you’re talking about one of your best players.

Football is often about making tough decisions, but the best way to avoid them is to be open and upfront, and to nip stuff in the bud before it escalates. Now I’ve just got to get Peter and John getting on – wish me luck!


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Love this Article, i too have had similar incidents, just not as bad as this. I was Coaching a game between My U11 Boys in their regular Season game. Coaches on one side of the field and parents where on the other. The Ref was a 14 year old girl who looked very shy and nervous about ref’ing, but still it was a Ref. A parent from the other team had been shouting the whole game, but i ignored it as thats what parents do right? Anyway, his son put a slide tackle in on my right winger and got none of the ball, my player was laying on the field about 2 yards away from the yelling dad. His son who had put the bad challenge in was jogging back to his position when his dad yelled out ” NEXT TIME STOMP ON HIS ANKLE ” needless to say, i shouted the Ref to stop the game, i walked from my side of the field all the way across and informed the parent that this type of language and disrespect is completely uncalled for and that if he could not keep his emotions in check, he would need to leave. Again this was a parent from the other team,so i felt i should of let their coach handle it, but their coach said ” oh he gets like that ” UNBELIEVABLE!!

Comment by Lee

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