The Cardinal Sins of a Soccer Parent

It’s soccer season! Both of my kids play soccer which means that I am involved in soccer-related activities roughly eight days a week. What? There are only 7 days in a week, you say. Yeah well, I’m like the Beatles of soccer moms except that I don’t have screaming fans and I’m just bad at counting. The point is that I spend a lot of time at soccer games and that means I spend a lot of time watching other soccer parents.

Hours of careful observation have helped me to identify the Seven Deadly Sins of Soccer Parents:

Forgetting shin guards: Shin guards guard the shins. Small people with poor control of their bodies with be running at your child and kicking your child wearing shoes with spikes on the bottoms. If you forget the shin guards, both teams should be allowed to walk on your back at half-time.

Cluelessness: Parent X is yelling like crazy from the sideline, ”Go Becky! You’re doing great Becky!” and his enthusiasm is sweet but things become awkward when the kid scores and Parent X shouts, “Way to go Becky!” while everyone else shouts, “Way to go Ann!” Know your kids’ teammates or stick with a generic “Good job!

Coaching from the sideline: Every team has a coach who tells your kid how to play the game. Your kid then goes out and does what the coach told him to do. When you start shouting instructions, he will get confused and will sit down on the field and make a clover chain.

Shouting rules from the sideline: “You’re offsides! For the love of god, you’re – oh wait. Maybe you’re not. Never mind.” Sometimes we think we know the rules and it turns out that we don’t. Thank goodness they have line judges and referees, huh?

Arguing with the referee: Don’t be the parent that argues with the ref. This is kids’ soccer – not the World Cup. When you argue with the ref, it’s embarrassing. The rest of us can only stare at our feet and whisper behind your back for so long.

Embarrassing your child: Never yell, “Go baby go!” at your 10 year old son’s soccer game. NEVER ever. You might as well whip off your shirt and run around the field with your mom boobs jiggling in your bra (or man boobs sans bra). It’s that embarrassing.

Poor sportsmanship: You win some you lose some and you weren’t even playing – your kid was. So, don’t get huffy and get into a wrestling match with your folding chair. Instead, do as I do. Thank the Gods of Soccer for the loss because each loss makes it less likely that you’ll have to go to the playoffs.

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About Vikki

Vikki is a bored social worker by day and a mom/writer/pop culture junkie by night. She writes about GLBT issues and parenting at her personal blog Up Popped A Fox and her writing has also appeared at Grace the Spot and Autostraddle. She also has an inexplicable fascination with marshmallow Peeps. Don't ask.


  1. GrandeMocha says:

    Besides forgetting equipment, I can’t imagine you do any of these.

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  2. Jared Karol says:

    As a lifelong soccer player and fan (and a used to be coach and teacher – and ref, actually), and as the parent of two year olds who aren’t yet playing soccer, I can totally picture each one of those people, and I hope to fuck that I don’t turn into one of those idiots when my kids start playing. I probably will though. Damnit!

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  3. Amber says:

    AMEN!!! I would be the parent that would just opt for “Good Job” just because I’m lousy with names. Very very lousy.

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  4. Shawnda Rae says:

    Oh hon just wait until they get older! All 3 of my kids play soccer and it amazing to watch the different teams! My son’s team the parents cheer the kids on and know all the kids. One of my daughters her team the parents kinda cheer the kids on. And my other daughter…. well if you get a parent to show up to a game you are doing good.

    I have seen it all! I once saw a coach stop in the middle of the game and yell at the parents to stop telling the kids what to do cause he was the coach and not them!

    And it will only get worse…. wait until they are in high school and play. :)

  5. JW Moxie says:

    About yelling “Go, baby, go!” from the sidelines: is THAT why my 10-year old mean-mugged me when he went whizzing by?


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  6. Kelly says:

    Also, the parent who wants to keep a statistical spreadsheet on every player’s goals, assists, etc. in a league that barely tracks the score of each game… is way too serious for pee wee soccer.

  7. Thank God for this list because when my boys start on team sports next season I will have SO much of a better chance of not mortifying myself or humiliating them on a regular basis. Or at least for one or two hours per day. The rest is up for grabs really.

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  8. Jen says:

    I think I’ll send these out to the parents on the teams I coach! I have one to add – do not forget to bring a snack on your week to bring snack EVER. For the under 8 kids this is the highlight of the game. Your child will be beyond embarrassed and hate you forever. seriously.

  9. Kristin says:

    I swear to got at my kid’s soccer game last weekend I heard some mom (who was standing right beside me and looked kinda like you) screaming “go baby go”!

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  10. LizC says:

    So, next week will be the mom boobs?

    I too have mistaken another player for my child on the field. That can get quite awkward.

    Speaking of over-enthusiastic (crazy) parents, I remember one game that my 10 year old daughter was playing in. The referee was a girl not much older than her. During the game one of the parents took umbrage at the coach of the opposing team and actually ripped the guy’s t-shirt right off his chest. The poor referee was mortified.

  11. e says:

    My favorite parents are the ones who bring a big thermos of bloody marys and an extra cup. God loves you, Mr and Mrs Cass, and so do I!


  1. [...] I wrote a post about being a soccer parent over at Aiming Low. Check it out: The Cardinal Sins of a Soccer Parent 0 Comments – Leave a comment! « Previous [...]

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