Soccer Parents – Why They Do What They Do

Old Soccer Guy has some thoughts up on why some soccer parents act the way they do. I think he’s definitely hit on a few of the more common ones, though I think there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other reasons out there too:

there is an abundance of moms who had some opportunities but did [ed: not?] work hard enough for them. And they are just now figuring that out. Those are the scary moms. For whatever reasons — usually cultural circumstances that involve their own parents — they bowed to the social stigma surrounding girls and sports in their era. They may have been a tremendous athlete, but didn’t pursue it because girls didn’t do that.

Listen to Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly for a bit and they will use the same phrase — “No one ever told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.” That’s the important message, not “Don’t make the same mistake I made, we paid for that personal trainer so you need to work harder.”

His section on Soccer Dads is even more fun. Be sure to read the whole thing.

I’ve found some of the more intense soccer parents are actually those that played soccer in high school and college. Yet Soccer Mom, well known to be an, er, overly enthusiast cheerleader on the sidelines, played no sports at all and says she never aspired to when she was younger (except for cheerleading). Soccer sidelines are a cornucopia of personalities! What are some of the more unique soccer parent personalities you have encountered. Why do you think they are the way they are? Armchair psychologists unite!

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  1. You got me thinking again, so I wrote about my own mom and dad. I think some psych major should dig deep into this subject. I don’t think that all sports parents have the same issues. I think there are some behavioral issues unique to soccer, and others unique to hockey, baseball, etc. Ooo. There’s another idea for a post

    OSG

  2. You’re probably right, and it’s not just the bad parents – theres an overall difference in soccer spectators vs the rest. In a town like ours, the difference in involvement or intensity is different looking at soccer vs say basketball or baseball. Sure, parents in any youth sport can yell at the ref, complain about bad calls, etc. But I’ve always noticed how quiet the other sports are compared to soccer – mostly due to the nature of the game.

    Take basketball. Baskets come on a regular basis, even if the score is only 16-10. There is cheering, but it ebbs and flows a lot and only reaches a crescendo as time expires and things get tense.

    Baseball is similar. Pitch, ball, pitch, ball, pitch strike, pitch swing – ok now cheer. Much less intense (though baseball parents can still be as crazy as any other sport)

    But with soccer, where the action never stops, the ball is near the goals often, which happen rarely – parents start cheering (and yelling) from the opening whistle through the end. It’s always very exciting and intense. Not saying that’s a bad thing if the parents cheer and don’t yell/scream. But I definitely notice the difference when my son plays basketball and we’re sitting calmly on the bleachers vs being on the soccer sidelines where we lose our voices every week :)