Yelling at youth sport referees makes you a jerk

DSC_0567Why is it necessary to yell at referees? Does this kid need to hear you be an a**hole? It does nothing…for anyone. I live with two soccer referees, two players and one coach. I hear all sides.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  ~Charles R. Swindoll

If you are a parent, and yell at a referee, here’s what you are teaching your kids:

  • If they don’t agree with someone, it’s okay to yell and call them names.
  • It’s ok to be an a**hole.

Is that the way you talk to your boss when you don’t agree with something they said or did? Is that they way you want your child to act towards a teacher when they don’t agree with the teacher said or did? Do you belittle the teenager behind the counter at McDonald’s because they got your oder wrong?

If you are a coach who yells at refs, here’s what you are teaching your players:

  • It’s ok to be an a**hole.
  • It’s ok to belittle and bully someone you don’t agree with.
  • The outcome of the game depends on the referee’s decision, not on how your team plays.


I’ve been to hundreds of youth soccer games. There are refs who make calls not in your favor. There are times when the call “made” you lose the game.

So…what happens when you lose a game. I mean, really…what happens?


Nobody dies. Your house does not burn down. There is no tragedy.

Losing a game can teach your child to be resilient (the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.) This can be one of the most important qualities a person can have.

If you say you “lost the game” because of a bad call from the ref…you are teaching your child that if they fail, it’s ok to blame OTHER PEOPLE’S DECISIONS. Yes, it sucks. But it’s not the last time it’s going to happen. You can be mad. Then you have to get over it.

What about when you are passed over for a promotion even though everyone knows you deserve it? It was someone else’s decision.

Your child runs for class president and someone else wins. OTHER PEOPLE’S DECISIONS.

We have a shortage of youth sport refs because of parents and coaches behavior. There are hundreds of videos of adults behaving badly and youth games. Kids (and adults) don’t need to be yelled at. They are learning. Most of these young refs are players too. And the adult refs? Still not okay…you are teaching your child that it’s ok to be a bully…and that makes you an a**hole.

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