Sideline Etiquette

AYSO soccer encourages positive self-esteem, discipline, personal responsibility, teamwork, acceptance of and learning from disappointment and success, as well as perseverance. It is also an enjoyable game to watch as well as to play. We believe that quality soccer can and should be developed, and that it can and should be fun. Therefore, the emphasis of our program is not on who wins but how the players and teams develop, and most importantly, did they have fun in doing so? We want all participants to reach their full, age-appropriate potential and to enjoy themselves in the process.

As spectators, we must realize that the players are trying their very best and deserve our very best in the way of support and encouragement. Negative comments have no place on the field or on the sidelines. We need to recognize that the effort of each player is 100% well intended and encourage each player to maintain that effort. It is also important to recognize all good play being demonstrated; regardless of which team the player is on.

The area off the field that the spectators occupy is on your own team's side, no closer than three yards from the touch line, and between the penalty areas. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed behind the goal lines. Familiarize yourself with these field markings and remain within the area defined.

Allow the coach to be the sole source of coaching during the match, communicating tactical or technical adjustments to the players. As a coach, be sure that your coaching during the match is limited to positive, instructional or encouraging comments. Giving play-by-play instructions to all players thwarts their ability to put into effect the lessons you have stressed in practices and disallows them the opportunity to think on their feet.

The area off the field that the coaches occupy is called the "technical area" and is on your own team's side, no closer than one yard from the touchline, and up to ten yards from either side of the halfway line. The "technical area" is limited to the head coach and one assistant coach for that team. Not only are these to be the only persons occupying the "technical area," they are the only persons who may coach (give tactical or technical information) during the course of the match.

An important aspect of the AYSO program is Sportsmanship. Our children need to experience:

  1. The fun of hard fought but fair competition
  2. Winning graciously
  3. Losing graciously
  4. Improving one's abilities through practice
  5. Learning the social skills involved in being a member of a team, and
  6. Acknowledging good play by teammates as well as opponents

One of the ways in which our children can learn and continue to have these experiences is by our demonstration of good sideline behavior. Our children learn by watching, and imitating our conduct. Keep a positive outlook and demonstrate it by supporting the coaches, players and referees, in spite of any mistakes they may make during the course of a match.