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Roots Soccer League

Serving Western MA

Roots Soccer League Serving Western MA

Code of Conduct

To help prevent physical assault and verbal abuse during sanctioned events, the Roots Soccer League (RSL) has a Code of Conduct for all participants. These policies apply to all coaches, players, parents, spectators and other supporters and referees.

Abusive and obscene language, violent play/conduct, fighting and other behavior (including, but not limited to sarcasm, taunting, etc.) deemed detrimental to the game will not be tolerated. The ultimate responsibility for the actions of coaches, players and spectators resides with all RSL member organizations. It is the responsibility of the coaches to provide referee support and spectator control, and it is the responsibility of RSL’s member organizations to provide instructions to their coaches on how to implement sportsmanlike behavior.

These policies apply to any period before, during and after the sanctioned event at the soccer field and its immediate surrounding areas. As noted by the Laws of the Game (LOTG), the referee does not have to show a yellow card before showing a red card.

Parents & Spectators
No parent or spectator shall address the referee or assistant referees at any time. This includes, but is not limited to:

a. Parents and spectators shall not dispute calls during or after the game.
b. Parents and spectators shall not make remarks to the referee(s) or advise the referee(s) to watch certain players or attend to rough play.
c. Parents and spectators shall never yell at the referee(s), including criticism, sarcasm, harassment, intimidation, or feedback of any kind before, during or after the game. Additionally, parents and spectators shall not make derogatory comments to players, spectators, or coaches of either team.

Penalties (Parents & Spectators)
In the opinion of the referee, depending on the severity of the offense, the referee may take any of the following actions:

a. The referee may issue a verbal warning to the coach of offending party’s team.
b. The referee may stop the game and instruct the coaches to direct the parent /spectator to leave the field.
c. The referee may abandon the game if the parent/spectator does not leave the field which will result in the offending team forfeiting the game and may result in the assessment of appropriate fees and/or other sanction as determined by the RSL. The ultimate responsibility for the actions of the spectators resides with the Coach of each respective team.

The conduct of the players is governed by the Laws of the Game as stated by MYSA and RSL. The Laws themselves describe penalties associated with violating the Laws of the Game.

Coaches, Assistant Coaches & Team Officials
It is the responsibility of all coaches to maintain the highest standards of conduct for themselves, their players, and supporters in all matches. Failure to do so undermines the referee’s authority and the integrity of the game resulting in a hostile environment for players, the referee(s), coaches, assistant coaches, other team officials and parents/spectators.

As role models for all of the participants and spectators, coaches participating in an RSL sanctioned event are expected to be supportive of, and to acknowledge the effort, good play and sportsmanship on the part of ALL players from either team in a game. By example, coaches, assistant coaches, and other team officials are expected to show respect for their opponent, referees, and spectators at all times even though they are competing in a game.

The RSL will not tolerate negative behavior exhibited either by demonstrative actions and gestures, or by ill-intentioned remarks, including those addressed toward the referees or members of an opposing team. Coaches exhibiting hostile, negative, sarcastic, or otherwise ill-intended behavior toward referees, opposing players or coaches will be subject to disciplinary action by the RSL and its member organizations. Coaches shall not interact directly or indirectly with the coaches or players of the opposing team during the game in any manner that may be construed as negative, hostile, or sarcastic either by way of demonstrative actions and gestures or by ill-intentioned remarks.

Coaches shall not offer dissent to any call made by the referee(s) at any time. Coaches are not to address the Referee(s) during the game except to:

a. Respond to a referee who has initiated a conversation.
b. Point out emergency or safety issues.
c. Make substitutions.
d. Request clarification regarding a call.

Absolutely no sarcasm, harassment or intimidation is allowed.

Additionally, coaches or other team members are not to engage in any conversation with the referee(s) once the game has concluded unless it is to address one of the bullet points noted above (A, B, C or D).

Penalties (Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Team Officials)
In the opinion of the referee, depending on the severity of the offense, the referee may take any of the following actions:

a. The referee may issue a verbal warning to the offending coach, assistant coach, or team official.
b. If the referee is unable to identify the offending party, the referee may issue the senior team official in the technical area at the time a yellow or red card as outlined by the Laws of the Game.
c. The referee may eject the offending coach, assistant coach, or team official. Once ejected, the individual will be required to leave the field immediately.
d. The referee should abandon the game, if the coach, assistant coach, or team official does not leave the field or any immediate adjoining area after having been instructed to do so.

Games Disbanded Prior to the Conclusion by the Referee
When a game is disbanded by the referee prior to its conclusion due to unsporting behavior on the part of one or both teams, the Referee will submit a report to their Assignor as well as the RSL with justification.

Suspension, Banning of Players, Parents/Spectators, Coaches, Assistant Coaches or Team Officials
If a player, parent/spectator, coach, assistant coach, or team official is suspended/banned by the RSL, he/she is not permitted to participate or have any interaction with their team until they are reinstated. This restriction includes, but not limited to, practices, scrimmages, games, tournaments or any soccer related activities. If a player, parent/spectator, coach, assistant coach, or team official is suspended for any reason, they are suspended from all RSL sanctioned events and activities.

RSL, as a youth organization, reserves the right to suspend/ban any participant that endangers the health, welfare, and/or safety of its membership.

To ensure that sportsmanship, fair play and respect among players, coaches, team officials and spectators are a cornerstone of our organization, the following Code of Conduct has been adopted by the RSL in conjunction with the organization’s Zero Tolerance Policy. It is the obligation of the RSL and its member organizations’ coaches, team officials, parents and players to create an environment that promotes this objective.

Player’s Role: Every Player is expected to: 1. Work hard, have fun, and give your best effort at practices and games 2. Learn and respect the game of soccer, Laws of the Game, and policies of the RSL 3. Show respect and courtesy to officials and coaches by following their instructions and directions 4. Be a team player. Be respectful and supportive of your teammates. Learn and develop teamwork and sportsmanship 5. Respect the coaches and players of the opposing team. Be humble in victory and courteous in defeat

Coach/Team Officials Role: The coach’s role is one of teacher and mentor. Coaches will promote good sportsmanship, build team unity, and foster a player’s love of soccer. The coach will ensure that his/her conduct sets a good example for players and spectators.

Coaches are expected to:
1. Know the official Laws of the Game and local rules of competition
2. Respect game officials at all times
3. Always ensure that fans/spectators of his /her team show sportsmanship and maturity during games and training sessions
4. Respect the coaches, players, and fans/spectators of the opposing team
5. Maintain control of his/her emotions and avoid actions, language and/or gestures that may be interpreted as hostile or humiliating
6. Teach good sportsmanship and fair play
7. Communicate openly with families to avoid any conflict regarding Team/Rules of Competition/League policies

Parents/Fans/Spectator Role:
1. The parents’ role is one of support to players and coaches. Parents should not engage in ‘coaching’ from the sidelines, verbally criticizing players, coaches, or game officials.
2. Show respect and courtesy to officials, coaches, players, and spectators at all times. Spectators engaged in disrespectful behavior with others (player, spectators, coaches, game officials, etc.) will be subject to penalties noted above in the Zero Tolerance Policy.
3. Support your child and their teammates. Refrain from making negative or abusive remarks about players, coaches, or officials.
4. Let the coach do the coaching. Refrain from ‘coaching’ from the sideline. Instructions given by parents can confuse the player and often contradict what the coaches and players have been working on in training/practice.
5. Teach and practice good sportsmanship before, during and after each game. Lead by example.
6. Have players on time to game and practices.

Corrective Action
Infractions of the Code of Conduct committed by a player, coach, team official, parent, fan or spectator will be addressed as noted above in the Zero Tolerance Policy. Upon review of the situation, the RSL may impose additional corrective actions above and beyond those imposed by game officials and/or the member organization.

Updated 7/19/20


Roots Soccer League
181 Root Road 
Westfield, Massachusetts 01085

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