A longtime OTP reader shared this with me recently:

Today at my U14 game, my daughter made a diving save and deflected the ball past the post. The referee signaled for a goal kick and she shouted to him “Ref, it was out off my hand, it should be a corner.” He listened and gave the ball to the other team. As her dad and coach, I was proud of her display of sportsmanship.

I’d be proud too! Sometimes we lose sight of the most important lessons we should be teaching. One of my favorite stories about sportsmanship was during a U10 Rec match. A player got tangled up trying to steal the ball and went down hard. Before the referee even thought to blow the whistle, all the kids took a knee. Granted, we explained to the coaches after that to remind the kids to play until the whistle blows, lest we see U10 kids start diving Smiley. But it was clearly a spontaneous act of compassion by the kids. It was great to see.

What cool examples of sportsmanship have you seen in youth soccer? Were they rewarded or highlighted? How?