Dear Obnoxious Sideline Parent, You're Doing It Wrong

by Melissa Gibson
Originally Published: 
Men arguing and fighting during sporting event
Scary Mommy and SDI Productions/Getty

It’s that time of year again. Warm weather is sneaking in and the soccer season is up and running. Between practices and games, our family is at the soccer field five times a week for several hours at a time.


I absolutely love watching my kid and her teammates play soccer each week. But to be honest? You people on the sideline are ruining it for the rest of us.

Let me set the scene for you: You pull up to the soccer field on a beautiful spring day. You can see the kids on the field warming up. The parents walking over to the field with their chairs. Parents say hello to each other, talk about the day, school, etc. It all seems great. The weather, the pleasantries, the families, the handshaking. Now the players line up, and very soon after, the game begins.

And so does “the cheering.”

There goes that lovely feeling of watching my kid and her buddies do what they love most. PLAY soccer.

Suddenly? You parents who were just talking happily and nicely to each other? You have completely morphed into something else. Something scary. You should see yourselves. You’d be embarrassed.

I’m certain your kid is.

You’re yelling. You’re screaming. You’re totally consumed by every single play. By every single call.

You insult the referee. You shout at 13 year old little girls. You stand up and shake your fist. You heckle the sideline judge (who is really just a kid himself).

All because you’re “supporting” your kid.

How about this? You’re not.

SDI Productions/Getty

At a recent game, my husband and I made a poor choice on our seating assignment. We chose to sit by three parents of the opposing team. As soon as the game started? These parents kicked in. And they did not stop. FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. These parents yelled at the girls. Loudly complained about calls the ref made. And “cheered” in the worst way possible.




They shouted things like: go go go!! Pick it up a little! WIN THAT! I SAID WIN THAT!! Find your own space! Tuck in! Don’t just stand there! She’s open! On your toes! Settle it! WORK WORK WORK!! YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!!

Plus 5,689 other very loud and very bossy “cheers.” It just didn’t stop. And sadly? This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this and it certainly won’t be the last.

But here’s the thing. These girls have worked for at least five hours at practices during the week. They HAVE a coach. You send the child to that coach every other day each week because you trust that him/her. So why are you going to also coach from the sideline? They don’t need another coach. Or five. They need support. And your loud and obnoxious “support” just isn’t cutting it.

You need a red card.

Imagine, for a minute, that you’ve found someone to train your new puppy. You’re watching the trainer work with your puppy and you’re “supporting” him as he works.

Go! Make him sit! Go! Move faster! Work work work! No, over here! Look, over here! He should lie down now! Go!

How do you think that’s going to go over with the dog trainer? Not very well. Because guess what? HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING.

Or, let’s say you’re at work. Maybe you’re giving a presentation. You’re up in front of 50+ people and 47 of them are “supporting” you by saying things like “GO GO GO! TALK FASTER! NO! THAT’S TOO FAST! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! SPEAK UP! IS THAT ALL YOU GOT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

Sounds really great, huh? I bet you’d walk out feeling wonderful about yourself and your performance.

That? Is how you’re making your kid feel. And mine, by the way. You’re also annoying the crap out of everyone around you because we came to watch our kid PLAY SOCCER.

Did you hear that last part?


This is not the World Cup. This isn’t MLS. This isn’t even Division 2 soccer.

This is youth soccer. And they just want to play the game.

So sit your butt down in your Coleman chair from Walmart and let the kids do what they love to do. PLAY.

And if you’d like to be supportive? You should clap, whistle and say things like “Aw yeah! Looking good! You’ve got this!” and probably even “You’re doing great!!!” would work rather nicely. But if that doesn’t seem like your style? Go sit your annoying ass back down in your car and wait it out.

Because the day is much too pretty and the game is much too fun to be ruined by your “supportive behavior” and loud mouth.

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