Westfield, IN, August 16, 2023 – Indiana Soccer is proud to join US Youth Soccer and 24 additional state associations to launch a “Don’t Coach from the Sidelines” Campaign targeted at improving sideline etiquette from spectators and coaches. Leveraged by the membership of the 24 state associations that are involved with this initiative, more than one million players and 100,000 coaches will directly receive the messaging of the national campaign.
As part of this initiative to improve sideline behavior, a video has been created to provide education and improve awareness around this critical topic.
Indiana Soccer has seen its membership base grow to over 60,000 youth players, 8,000 active coaches, 1,500 referees and thousands of volunteers through its network and leagues and more than 140 local member clubs across the state. This growth is thanks to efforts by the state association, member leagues, member clubs and also in large part to its referee community.
“We thank Indiana Soccer for leading this project in an effort to improve the soccer environment,” said Evan Dabby, NJYS Executive Director. “We need everyone’s help on the sideline to help the players maximize their enjoyment and development on the field.”
Ball State University recently conducted research that included parent surveys regarding their sideline experience, and their work also involved the surveying of referees who stepped down from officiating. Based on their research, the element that predominately led to a diminished experience for parents, and the key reason officials leave the game, is the negative sideline etiquette from spectators and coaches. The common themes were verbal abuse of the referees and the parents coaching from the sidelines. As a result, US Youth Soccer and participating state associations are developing a series of behavior modification videos to help improve the experience of all stakeholders.
“The recent survey conducted by Ball State University clearly revealed that only a small portion of coaches, parents and players are diminishing the experience for the vast majority of stakeholders,” said Dave Guthrie, Executive Director of Indiana Soccer. “Unfortunately, these few bad actors are ruining the game for the masses. It is our hope that through education, which is what the video was created to do, will educate the offenders and they will realize that their behavior is toxic and unwelcomed.”
The Don’t Coach from the Sidelines Campaign is an expansion of a focused initiative to improve sideline etiquette from spectators and coaches. Earlier this year, a Respect The Ref Campaign and corresponding video was launched, and the national initiative has now seen its efforts broaden to the commitment of 24 state associations.