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Des Moines, Iowa

Team and Sideline Ground Rules


Team Ground Rules

  • By joining a team you are making a commitment to being at games and practices. We cannot have a team without active participation by parents and players.
  • If your child is unable to make a practice or game, tell the coach. To plan practice activities and game line ups, coaches need to know who is going to be there. If a team is missing too many players on game day, that match may have to be forfeited. This is unfair to teammates AND the opposition.
  • Players should be on time, ready to go (shin guards on and fully covered by soccer socks), in weather-appropriate uniform or practice gear, shoe laces tied, hair pulled back if it’s long, and pierced earrings removed or covered with tape when practices or games begin. Players should be in full uniform and ready to go at least 15 minutes before game time.
  • If a child is being disruptive during practices or games, we will redirect them twice, then we will ask them to sit with their parents until they are ready to rejoin and fully engage in soccer.
  • At practices and games, no child is to be left unsupervised. Children should not be sent to the bathroom alone or any place where you can’t see them. All games are in public venues, and parents are expected to take responsibility for the safety of their children.
  • Be on time. It can be embarrassing for a child to arrive late and difficult to transition into playing after everyone else has started. Teach your child respect for the coach and teammates by being on time. If there’s an organized car pool, let the coach know so that s/he can make sure the kids leave with the right adult.
  • If a child is having a bad day or is apprehensive about being on the field, inform the coach and be ready to help out. Don’t leave your child’s coach with the responsibility of dedicating the practice or game to consoling your child. Help get your child in a coachable mindset to play.
  • If your child has special medical needs (asthma, for example), inform your child’s coach in person and via email. Make sure a parent or guardian is always present with appropriate medication for the child at all practices and games.
  • If your child has a food allergy, inform your child’s coach in person and via email. Volunteer to bring snack to the first game so you can educate parents on what works for your child. Follow up with an email to ALL team families. If that doesn’t work out, you should bring a separate snack for your child each week.


Sideline Rules

  • Criticizing the referee is NEVER allowed. We – players, coaches, and referees – are all students of the game. Referees are human and make mistakes. Especially at the U8 level, referees are learning on the job. If you as a parent have a concern about the way the game is being handled, please address it with the coach.
  • Only a coach may approach the referee, and only at quarters and halftime breaks. During the match parents should NEVER call out to the referee. Soccer South maintains a zero tolerance policy towards dissent with the referee.
  • Parents are expected to model behavior consistent with good sportsmanship. Cheer for ALL players, including the opponent.
  • Parents that yell excessively, or are abusive, will be asked to leave the field.
  • Parents that disrespect the official, opponent, coach, players of either team, or parents of either team will be asked to leave the field.
  • Parents that consistently demonstrate these behaviors will not only be asked to leave the game, they will be asked to leave the team.
  • Parents cheer; coaches coach. We ask that you cheer for all children from the sidelines. Please allow the coach to provide any feedback to the players during the game and make adjustments as needed.
  • A referee may discourage parents from coaching from the sideline. It’s confusing for the players to receive coaching direction from multiple sideline sources. At games, parents should NOT call out instructions to players from the sideline.
  • During games and practices parents are not allowed on the field. Parents should stay on the sidelines during the game and practice. If during a game or practice your child is injured and we need parental assistance, we will call you over. It is customary for coaches to teach players to “take a knee” after a referee has stopped a game for an injury.
  • Parents and coaches are not allowed behind the goals during the game.
  • Team families and coaches are expected to stand 3 feet from the sideline. The referee needs enough room to see the sideline to know if the ball has gone out of bounds. The players need room on the sideline to take throw ins. Parents and coaches need to stand well back from the sideline, showing the players that the touchline is an important line for out of bounds.
  • Coaches are responsible for ALL the sideline behavior on their side of the field. Either the coach or referee may require offending spectators to leave the field. If a spectator(s) fails to respond to a team official’s request to cease and desist from improper behavior, the referee is empowered to terminate the match.
  • Cheer, but don’t criticize. Know the difference between cheering (“nice pass,” “good run,” “way to go”) and criticizing (“run faster,” “kick harder,” “what are you doing?”). Kids are positively motivated by cheering, but few children are motivated by criticism during a game. Practices, not games, are the best time for constructive feedback.
  • Pick up all litter after games and practices. After every practice and every game, leave the field cleaner than you found it. Plan on staying a few minutes after each game and practice to walk the field with your child’s team to pick up and pack out trash.

Soccer South Soccer Club