A few months ago we mentioned that the UK’s Football Association had banned leagues from keeping scores or standings for 7 and 8 year old players. This wasn’t a surprise and US Soccer recommends this as well, though many leagues continue to do so.
But now it seems to have gotten a bit extreme. A proud coach of younger players was quoted in a local newspaper that his team had ‘won the league’ and was severely reprimanded:
Scott Ager, who last season managed Priory Parkside under-9s ‘A’ team in Huntingdon, was sharply reprimanded after declaring that his team had won the league and having them photographed with a trophy by their local newspaper.
Mr Ager said: “I find it bizarre. It seems to me to work against talented players, as the teams who may lose heavily are likely to be ones with players who just play for a bit of fun. It is very frustrating. Kids put all this effort in but there is no reward.
“All the other managers in the league acknowledged that we had been the best team as we had won the most games. Football is our national sport, yet there are some strange rules around it.”
I’ve written a lot about competition and standings and how they weren’t the direct cause of bad parent or coach behavior. But this story is just bizarre. Reprimand a successful coach who got his kids in the paper and cause him to leave? To what end? Yes, maybe claiming to have ‘won the league’ without standings was a bit much, but punishable?