PYS Codes of Conduct

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Parent's Code of Conduct

Watching our children play any sport can be rewarding. We have the opportunity to observe them develop technical and physical skills (dribbling, shooting, passing), learn what sportsmanship and teamwork are all about, understand how to act and react when winning and losing, and overall become more well-rounded people who ultimately learn how to treat all others with respect and dignity.

We all should be proud of how well our children do as they learn and grow through soccer. Yet, as many of you may know, inappropriate conduct by parents and other spectators has become an increasing problem for youth sports organizations. To deal with this problem in an effective manner, Massachusetts Youth Soccer and all member organizations will implement this Parents’/Guardian’s/Spectator’s Code of Conduct which is detailed below. The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Board of Directors urges all of you to take these policies to heart so that we will all have a safe, enjoyable and successful season.

Parent’s/Guardian’s/Spectator’s Code of Conduct

1. Do not force your child to participate in sports.

2. Applaud good plays; don’t dwell on bad plays. Children play sports to have fun, make new friends, and learn new skills.

3. Children imitate their parents. If you are disruptive or act inappropriately, your child, and possibly others, will act in a similar fashion.

4. The sidelines are not a place to shout personal instructions. Encouraging from the sidelines is appreciated, coaching from the spectator sidelines is forbidden. A good rule to follow when you cheer/yell/shout from the sidelines is, “No verbs!”

5. There is more to life than soccer. Encourage your child to participate in other activities.

6. Respect the coach’s decision and abilities. Don’t force your child to decide whether to listen to you or to the coach.

7. Stress fair and sensible play. Soccer is a contact sport, let the officials determine fair or foul play.

8. Promote the long-term importance of practice over the short-term excitement of matches.

9. Promote the importance of teamwork.

10.Never lose sight of the fact that you are a role model.

11. The other team is the opponent, not the enemy. Treat all with respect.

12.Mistakes are a part of the learning process for everyone. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. 13.Take time to learn the rules of the match and the policies of the club and league.

14.Remember that coaches and administrators are usually volunteers. A “thank you” every once in a while is often a nice reward.

Parent’s/Guardian’s/Spectator’s Zero Tolerance Physical Abuse Policy

All parents, guardians, and spectators of players are subject to the Zero Tolerance Physical Abuse Policy:

1. Any parent, guardian, or spectator that attempts to threaten or cause physical injury to any individual associated with Mass Youth Soccer or its member Organizations (Towns/Clubs/Leagues) shall be subject to, and their children shall be subject to immediate suspension from play and/or other league involvement, for up to one year at the sole discretion of the authority of the competition where the infraction occurred.

2. A second instance of an attempt to threaten or cause physical injury shall result in up to a minimum three year suspension for the player(s) and the parent/guardian from any involvement.

All individuals associated with Mass Youth Soccer are expected to uphold the values of honesty, good sportsmanship, and respect for the integrity of team participation and team play within Mass Youth Soccer and other related sports organizations.

All individuals associated with Mass Youth Soccer are expected to understand and comply with the Mass Youth Soccer Safe Soccer Policies in accordance with U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Center for Safe Sport requirements, and other, similar guidance in force and adopted from time to time.

Match referees, officials and administration have been instructed to stop play when parents, guardians, or spectators display inappropriate or disruptive behavior that interferes with coaches, players, or other spectators during the match. Referees or club/league officials will identify violators to the coaches for the purpose of removing the violators from the spectators’ viewing and match area. Once removed, play will resume. Lost time will not be replaced and violators may be subject to further disciplinary action or local civil and criminal statutes. Inappropriate and disruptive behavior listed above shall include, but not be limited to:

● Use of obscene or vulgar language in a boisterous manner to anyone at any time.

● Taunting players, coaches, officials, or other spectators by means of baiting, ridiculing, threat of physical violence, or actual violence either in person, electronically, or via social media.  

● Throwing of any object in the spectators’ viewing area, players’ area, playing fields, or parking areas, directed in any manner in order to intimidate or harm another person or that may create a safety hazard.

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Player's Code of Conduct

All Mass Youth Soccer players are encouraged to take the time to read this Player’s Code of Conduct. As a Parent or Guardian, please encourage your player to read the guidance, or read and discuss it with your younger player, to help them understand the importance of following this Code of Conduct. This guidance applies to players of every age, and we rely on our Parents, Guardians, and Coaches to help instill the Code of Conduct in our players as part of the culture of our game.

Our goal is to help all youth soccer players to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally over time. Soccer matches and practices are our method to accomplish this goal.

To achieve this goal, Mass Youth Soccer has adopted this Player’s Code of Conduct. We reserve the right to dismiss from our programs any player who does not adhere to this Player’s Code of Conduct.

The Player’s Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines that all players who choose to participate in any Mass Youth Soccer sanctioned activity or events that include but are not limited to all leagues, tournaments, and practices.

Player Code of Conduct

1. Sportsmanship, fair play, and respect are expected from all players. Players will be good teammates and treat others as they would like to be treated.

2. Players will not use offensive or abusive language at practices or matches.

3. Players will not intentionally harm or threaten coaches, teammates, opponents, or referees.

4. Players will not engage in bullying, harassment, or hazing during any sanctioned programs, activities, and events.

5. Players will not use social networking websites, cell phones, or other forms of technology to harass or threaten coaches, teammates, opponents, or referees.

6. Players will display a positive attitude and show respect toward coaches, teammates, opponents, and officials (Center Referee, Assistant Referee, Lines people, 4th Official).

7. After matches, players shall positively acknowledge the opposing team. This may be done with a team handshake/fist bump or team cheer.

8. Players will also comply with all town, club, and league Zero Tolerance Policies.

9. Players will not use and possess illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana at sanctioned programs, activities, and events.

10.Players must treat teammates, coaches, parents, opponents, match officials, and themselves with fairness and respect at all times.

11. Fighting in any form will not be tolerated.

12.Players are prohibited from using performance enhancing or mind-altering drugs (legal or illegal). 13.There is zero tolerance for referee abuse. (See Zero Tolerance Policy).

14.Players are expected to know, follow, and play by the soccer laws of the match. Any intentional act of deceiving the match officials to gain an unfair advantage will be considered a violation of the Player Code of Conduct.

Penalties for Violations of the Code of Conduct

● Initial Violation: A verbal warning from the coach to the player and parent/guardian.

● 2nd Violation: Player misses next practice and/or match.

● 3rd Violation: Player is suspended from all practices and matches for the remainder of the season. The coach will also notify (email preferred) the appropriate Director to report the violation(s).

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Coach's Code of Conduct

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association, Inc. (Mass Youth Soccer) and its Member Organizations (our Town Programs, Clubs, and Leagues) are committed to promoting the highest levels of respect and consideration in the conduct of all participants (coaches, players, spectators, and referees) during matches at all levels. We want to ensure that matches are fair, positive, and enjoyable experiences for all of the children and adults involved. A soccer match should be friendly and unifying - a spirited social and athletic occasion for all.

To clarify expectations of conduct, we jointly expect all coaches to conform to this code of conduct at all times: 

● Before, during, and after the match, you are at all times an example of dignity, patience, and positive spirit.

● Before a match, respectfully introduce yourself to the opposing coaches and to the referee/official(s).

● During the matches and practices, you are responsible for the sportsmanship of your players. If one of your players is disrespectful, irresponsible, or overly aggressive, take the player out of the match or practice until they calm down.

● At all times (matches and practices), you are also responsible for the conduct of the parents of your players and other spectators rooting for your team. It is your responsibility to explain to them acceptable player and parent/spectator behavior in a preseason meeting. Refer to our Parents/Guardians/Spectators and Players’ Codes of Conduct.

● Before the season, send out the Parents/Guardians/Spectators and Players Code of Conduct.

● At matches, encourage all parents/guardians/spectators from both teams to applaud and cheer for good plays by both teams. Discourage them from yelling at players and the referee/official - be as forceful and direct as necessary.

● During the match, do not address the referee/official at all. Do not question their calls.

● Acknowledge good sportsmanship when it’s displayed as necessary.

● If you have a complaint, report your opinion to your League. Your observations will be taken seriously if they are presented objectively, factually, and formally.

● Demand a sports environment that is free from drugs, alcohol and tobacco and refrain from their use at all matches, exhibitions, practices, and events.

● Never coach a match or conduct a practice under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

● Never use profanity or make obscene gestures, or engage in any inappropriate behavior or conduct, at any time.

● After the match, thank the referee/official(s) and ask your players to do the same.

Coaches who don't follow the expectations described above will be disciplined or removed.

In closing, Mass Youth Soccer stresses two points: Officials (Referees, Assistant Referees, 4th Officials, and Lines people) - especially young and inexperienced ones - are like your players and yourself, in that they need time to develop. You play an important role in helping them to improve by letting them concentrate on the match. You can help by encouraging them to be their best and by accepting their inevitable and occasional mistakes. Your role as a coach is to concentrate on your players' enjoyment of the sport and their overall, long-term development, and to support the officials. Use self-regulation to monitor your behavior at all times! When you follow these expectations, the spirit of the sport of soccer will be alive and well in Massachusetts and will grow, along with the enjoyment of all.

Coach’s Responsibilities 

In addition to the Coach’s Code of Conduct, the following Coach Responsibilities should be followed during every youth soccer related activity:

● Understand and accept that coaching is a position of trust.

● Be a positive role model for their players and maintain their personal integrity and dignity at all times.

● Create a player centered environment where players are free to make autonomous decisions.

● Remember that players are involved for fun and enjoyment, and you should strive to create a positive soccer environment that reflects why they play.

● Understand that as a youth coach, the match is for the children, not the adults.

● Consistently have a positive attitude and praise players for their efforts and playing fair regardless of the outcome of the match.

● Never criticize or yell at any player on your team for making a mistake nor address an opposing player in a derogatory manner.

● De-escalate any physical or verbal abuse in youth sports.

● Understand that winning is a consideration, but not the only one, nor the most important one.

● Place the well-being and growth of every player above your personal desire to win.

● Understand that being a coach means being, first and foremost, a role model.

● Create a safe, fun, and inclusive environment that provides opportunities for all of your players the capacity to improve their skills, gain confidence and develop self-esteem.

● Create co-constructed team and individual goals. Know and understand your soccer organization’s playing time guidelines and give every player an opportunity to play as much as possible.

● Remind the players about the co-constructed goals and objectives for the team, as well as the rules of the match and the policies of your soccer organization, whenever requested or necessary, to the best of your ability.

● Inspect all equipment and fields on a regular basis to ensure the safety of players, paying special attention to the security of goal frames.

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Soccer Official's Code of Conduct

This Soccer Official's Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines that all match officials (Center Referee, Assistant Referee, Lines people, 4th Official) shall follow in their participation in any Mass Youth Soccer sanctioned activity or events that include but are not limited to all league play, tournaments, and other matches:

1. I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.

2. I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.

3. Barring any unforeseen circumstances (i.e. sickness, family emergency, act of God), I will always honor an accepted assignment or any other official appointment.

4. I will attend recertification classes to maintain my Referee License and optional training opportunities and clinics so as to maintain and improve my knowledge of the Laws of the Game, their proper interpretation, and their application.

5. I will always strive to achieve maximum teamwork with my fellow officials.

6. I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them.

7. I will strive to maintain proper and appropriate physical condition.

8. I will control the players with professionalism and respect and do my best to keep the game fair and safe for all players.

9. I will always strive to conduct myself in a professional manner. I will refrain from indulging in arguments or name-calling with coaches.

10.I will not interact with any spectators other than what has been approved via the Mass Youth Soccer Zero Tolerance Policy. Any spectator issues I encounter I will address them with the appropriate coach.

11. I do hereby acknowledge my fellow referees' total authority over any matches over which they are duly assigned to officiate, and I pledge that I will never interfere with the carrying out of their prescribed duties, before, during, or after a match.

12.I understand that any criticism of fellow referees should be limited to constructive criticism in quiet, private referee-to-referee discussions, and then never within hearing distance of players, coaches, or spectators.

13.I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game.

14.I acknowledge that if I am also a coach, player, or spectator, that my conduct towards, and my respect for, my fellow referee doing my game is more closely noticed by all concerned. I will, therefore, strive to set a very high standard of personal conduct under these circumstances to serve as an example to all.

15.I will not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

16.I will not partake of any type of alcoholic beverage or narcotics, smoke or vape before or during any game assignment.

17.I consider it a privilege to be a part of the U.S. Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.

18.I will always faithfully carry out my duties and obligations as a soccer referee/official registered with the Mass Youth Soccer, Massachusetts State Referee Committee and U.S. Soccer.

19.As a USSF Certified Referee/Official, I understand that I may be sanctioned by the Massachusetts State Referee Committee and/or US Soccer to include being placed on probation, suspended, or refused referee registration, for significant or repetitive breaches of this Soccer Officials Code of Conduct or any of its provisions.

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