yellowcard_1.jpgHere is a pet peeve of mine and I see it all too often. This weekend our U12 girls and boys played home matches with the same center referee calling both matches – he called solid and fair matches for both teams, except for one thing. During the U12 match a girl tripped up one of our players, who staggered, but kept her balance and the ball, then was completely taken out by the same girl. It was clearly a yellow card. The ref called her over, talked to her, took out his book, wrote something down, and never showed the card. But it was obvious she had been carded and the match report confirmed it.

Fast forward to the U12 boys match. Hard foul by a player. Referee walks over to him, talks to him about the foul, and pulls out the yellow for all to see.

Can someone explain to me why you would show a yellow card to an 11 year old boy but not an 11 year old girl? That drives me crazy. Have I seen girls cry when they got yellow cards? Yes. Does that mean they shouldn’t be shown for girls? No. One of the biggest challenges as a girls coach is to get them out of this social expectation that they can’t play physical soccer with intensity.

I know this is such a minor thing, but it’s annoying as hell. Whenever one of my players gets a card, I specifically ask the referee to show it. That’s the whole point – making it clear that what they did stepped over a line. They aren’t all delicate flowers that will crumble if they’re called out on a dangerous play. You could argue that the girls most likely to get cards are those most prepared to handle them being shown.