Imagine a youth soccer game is taking place and the only sounds you can hear are the referee’s whistle, the players calling for the ball and the coaches barking instructions from the sidelines. What you can’t hear are spectators cheering on their team, criticizing the officials or otherwise causing a commotion.
It sounds pretty farfetched, but there are youth soccer associations in Wisconsin and South Carolina that are testing it out as a way to cut down on spectator abuse of officials and players.
Officials of the East Central Soccer District (ECSD) in Wisconsin were looking for ways to combat the boisterous behavior of spectators at their youth soccer games. They decided to institute a "silent weekend" rule in October in a bid to address the issue, according to a Sacramento Bee report.
Parents were allowed to clap but faced warnings for making any other kind of noise such as cheering or booing. Coaches were required to deliver the warnings, and then if a third warning is required, eject the offending parent from the game. Failure to do so by the coach would result in the coach’s ejection, and if there was no authorized coach to fill in, the team could have to forfeit the game. Also, a parent’s refusal to leave also could result in a team forfeit.