California youth soccer referee quits over parents

November 30, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingSoccer
A referee for a California youth soccer league is calling it quits after more than a decade on the field. And he’s leaving because of the parents.

Avery Krut notified the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) earlier this month that he is stepping down. He described some of the parents as “obnoxious, foul-mouthed and entitled,” and during an appearance on NPR earlier this month, he offered some examples.

“First week of the season, a young boy, he has the ball over his head. He’s ready to make the throw-in,” Krut explained. “And a spectator on the sideline puts her hands on the child’s shoulders, spins him around so he’d be redirecting the ball to a different player. So I blew my whistle. And I said, ‘Is this your child?’ And she said, ‘No, this is not my child.’ So I explained to her, I said, you can never, ever, ever, ever touch a player.”

On another occasion, Krut stopped the game to allow one of the players to tie his shoes. The parents let him have it.

“I should not be admonished from the sideline that I should be doing this because it’s a game for 12-year-olds. And I said, ‘Safety first,'” Krut said.

Krut sent a letter to the league, saying to parents “your behavior on the sidelines has, for far too long, been disrespectful and you are damaging the children. I can no longer be involved with so many people who feel entitled.”

Krut does plan to referee again.

Coaches too

There’s a nationwide shortage of referees, and attacks from parents do not help, but coaches are feeling the pressure too. Twice over the past year, stories of coaches leaving their jobs over parents made national news.

In April, a Michigan High School basketball coach — coming off an 18-6 season in which he was named Coach of the Year — stepped down over abuse from parents. In October, an Ohio high school football coach who claimed to receive death threats from parents quit his job.

We’ve offered numerous resources over the years to help coaches deal with parents. Here are a couple:

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