To the editor:
As the volunteer coordinator for the Alexandria Soccer Association’s U10 boys recreational soccer league, I was distressed to read Susan Hyre’s column (What are you thinking? A mother’s perplexing ecounters,” November 22, 2011.
She was correct in saying that her daughter was treated poorly during a soccer game. As soon as ASA learned of the problems that Ms. Hyre’s daughter encountered, ASA leadership contacted the relevant coaches, reiterating the organization’s priorities of sportsmanship, respect, and building players’ love of soccer.
We also made it clear to our coaches that questioning or harassing referees is unacceptable. I personally emailed all of the U10 coaches clearly stating that we will tolerate any coach, player or parent treating a referee badly.
The incident Ms. Hyre noted was the first bad experience we’ve had between coaches, parents and referees. After I learned of it, I visited each game the following weekend, as did ASA President John Timmons, to be sure that referees felt comfortable and that all attendees behaved respectfully. Our presence and response may appear as overkill to some; however, ASA is adamant that all of our players, referees and parents enjoy the game. For as much as we want the players to learn about the game of soccer from their coaches, we also want our young refs to learn about leadership by overseeing games.
I am truly sorry that Ms. Hyre’s daughter had a bad experience. I hope she will choose to referee next year. She encountered an anomalous situation. Even though the problem was a first-time occurrence, it should not have happened. ASA is dedicated to making sure that it never happens again.
– Kim Moore, ASA U10 coordinator and parent