Soccer Coach Is Unfair and Unfriendly

Updated on September 03, 2007
B.H. asks from Burnsville, MN
7 answers

I have a problem with my daughter's soccer coach. My daughter is 6 and this is her 3rd soccer team she played both last fall and spring.This past spring she did awesome, was one of the best players on the team and everything went great. My daughter loved soccer. She was tough, aggressive, scored 3-5 goals at every game.

This fall my daughter was moved up, to the 1st/2nd grade team. The girls vary in size quite a bit. Some are in a size xs uniform some are in a size xl.So their skill levels also very quite a bit. My daughter is on the small size. My daughter can't physically kick the ball as far or hard as the huge girl on our team. The coach's favorite. This is recreational soccer not competative they don't keep score. We've had 4 practices so far and our first game is next week. So far the coach has come off as a drill sargent to me, has favortism, and doesn't treat everyone equally. 1/2 the team was on his team last fall, and 1/2 are new. He constantly makes comments like c'mon let's do this drill like we did last year. Hello there are kids who weren't here last year. Here's my direct problem, the coach doesn't say hi to my daughter, but get's excited to see other players, he has the kids practice and scrimmage and seems to only tell them what they do wrong, then he get's so into it my daughter becomes invisable as does another player. The coach kept having his daughter and another girl pass the ball the entire time my daughter was wide open he never instructed them to pass to her. Well with being ignored, and all my daughter started to not try anymore, space off and not care. My daughter could play alot better because I've seen her play better but her self esteem and self worth are taking a severe plunge. My daughter is not the only player being treated like this coincidentally the other "small" player is treated the same.My daughter came home last night telling me she hates soccer and asked why her coach doesn't talk to her and this other girl. Alot of the parents had him as a coach last year, there kids are friends and they love him. They did warn me that he's tough, and teases alot. I don't know what to do. I don't want my daughter to quit, and I don't want to create more problems. I'm very very apprehensive about trying to talk to the coach I just have a feeling things will get worse. My daughter was obsessed with soccer 2mos.ago and was doing so well quitting would seem like such a waste. I could talk to the organization that puts this together, I could talk to the coach, we could quit or I could just put up with it. I don't know what to do. I hate to be the pain in the butt parent but I also hate sitting and watching my child treated unfairly or ignored. One last thing I am the type of parent that doesn't want to be pushy or have an allstar kid I just want her to try her best and be happy. It's like her coach knows the taller girls who look like 5th graders but are 2nd graders are better and have more advantage they can kick harder and faster etc. So he's given up any hope on the two small girls. Like why waste his time with them. If anyone has any advise on what I could say to the coach if I ever do something that wouldn't come off bad I don't want to p!ss this guy off.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Welcome to the political world of sports. And it doesn't get any better.

If you don't feel comfortable talking to the coach yourself then Voice your concerns to the organization, if others do that as well, the organization will hopefully talk to the coach on your behalf.
If he gets enough complaints.....he won't be asked to coach again.
Coaching is always will have someone complaining about something, some people are cut out to be coaches and some should never be a coach (the wanna-be coaches!)
Hopefully talk to your daughter and tell her to stick with it,
cuz in life you will have bad teachers, bad coaches, bad bosses and you just need to deal with each individuals, it will make her a better person. Don't quit!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on


I would like to respond as the point of view of a fellow coach. First off your daughter is one of the younger girls on the team. She may feel a bit intimidated going from being one of the older girls on the team to one of the younger girls. After a few weeks your daughter will feel more comfortable and perform to her potential. Next, the job of a coach is to develop the skills of teammates. It is definitely possible that the coach is "coaching" the other girls a lot more in practice because they are not playing up to their potential and need a little more encouragement and your daughter is playing right at the level that the coach thinks she should be at.

Wait to see what happens the first game and see how a few more practices go. If you still feel like the coach isn't paying any attention to your daughter talk to him alone. Do give him specific examples like the other person stated and definitely be calm or else he will take it as an attack.

Good luck and remember you daughter is only 6; soccer isn't the only thing she may be good at.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I am sorry for the tough situation in which you find yourself. Please remember that this coach is volunteering. He is not getting paid. There are very few parents who will take the time to coach when they could be working out, cutting the lawn or relaxing. He is in a tough situation, too.

As a high school coach (no experience with rec leagues, my kids are too young), here are my suggestions:
1. Attend every practice. Witness and record exactly what you disagree with. It helps the coach to understand exactly what you are seeing.
2. When you talk to the coach, be very specific. Generalities, such as "you're just not nice to her" are too ambiguous. Say, "today you ignored Suzie when she said "hi" to you. She responds really well to verbal enthusiasm - could you encourage her by smiling and welcoming her to each practice?" Or, "Suzie seems to be open a lot, yet I feel that you are asking the other girls not to pass to her. Is that right? Why?"
3. Keep an open mind. When people are oddly unfair or angry, it is usually because of something else that has nothing to do with you. Remember the too true adage, "In the absence of truth, perception becomes reality." Find the truth. Don't trust your perception. The coach needs to be reminded of that, too. Perhaps he hasn't had a chance to see your daughter's abilities yet and is just judging her by her size. On the other hand, don't expect your daughter to do as well on an older kids' team. She will grow into those advanced abilities.

I have never worked with a coach (high school or junior olympic) who had anything but the best interests of his/her team and players in mind. Of course, there are conflicts of interest that need to be resolved (especially at the older levels), but I would imagine they are minimal for 6 year olds. (IE. Making it fun for the kids who are varsity players but will never play after HS v. pushing the kids who will be eligible for DI scholarships. - that is the kind of dilemna I face.)

Best of luck to you. As I stated at the beginning, this is a tough situation for both you AND the coach. You want the best for your daughter. He wants the best for his team.



answers from Minneapolis on

As another parent pointed out, unfortunately "welcome to the political world of sports." However, the other cliche to consider, is "you get further with honey than with vinegar." By this I mean, you need to start with complimenting the coach. People respond more if they are not put on the defensive right way.

If you can't think of something good to say to the coach or his ability to coach the team, start looking!!!... or at least express gratitude for his willingness to coach. As you know, coaching is a selfless job and many parents take it for granted -- wanting to blame the coach for everything and not willing to work with their own child on the side away from the few practices scheduled to help improve their kids' skills, behavior, or attitude.

At any rate, what I am suggesting is "YOU" have to talk with the coach. If you start pulling other parents, or go around the coach, you have lost the battle. You have immediately "attacked" the coach and not tried to handle this parent to parent. Sometimes, a coach just needs to be "politely" reminded or directed to considering something that you feel is out of place and then perhaps he will realize it himself. And if you do this without pointing the blame right at him, the conclusion and solution may come about quickly.

For instance, if you started with complimenting the coach on a drill or a play that seemed to work well for the youngsters, and then asked him about himself and his background. Did he play in HS, college? --- really just try to get to know him alittle first, which can be done in a matter of a couple minutes.

Then point out that you are concerned about your daughter and wonder if HE has any suggestions on how you can help draw her out, build her esteem (without blaming him for her recent withdrawal of attention). Point out that last season she seemed to be more assertive in her playing and yet this year she doesn't seem to be playing to her potential -- it may be that she is intimated by the larger players, or yes, it could be that the coach is neglecting her.

But if you don't phrase it that the coach is the problem and seek his help in the solution (helping her play better, build self esteem), you have then accomplished the objective -- it starts putting your daughter on his radar while he is coaching. He may start calling her name more.

Keep in mind some coaches are terrible with names and if the kids don't have their name on their shirts, it makes it harder for the coach to get to know the kids and interact. (We had a great baseball coach that was very upfront with this weakness and the solution was simply that the boys wore their baseball shirt for practices and games...)

You may find this might simply be the problem - your coach does not KNOW your daughter. Also, your coach may reveal something about your daughter you didn't realize or didn't think he even noticed (hopefully it is on the positive too).

Take the time when you talk to the coach to introduce your daughter... (of course, do the talking with the coach before or after a practice/game when he is less distracted)... Say something like, "Bryana, your coach ____ and I have been talking and he is really happy with your ______ ..."

What you are done is now put the coach and your daughter in a newfound relationship. Now your daughter may be more willing to listen and be attentive and hopefully your coach will call on her, help direct her skills and play time....

Good luck..



answers from Minneapolis on

I understand the reluctance to speak up for fear of being labeled one of 'those parents', but ultimately what you have is your sweet 6 yr. old daughter who can't do it for herself so as a parent it is our responsiblity to be there advocate when we feel they are being treated unfairly. Don't allow yourself to be intimitated by the coach-tell him calmly and confidently what you have observed and what you like to see change. The situation may or may not improve, but you will probably feel better in the end to know that you spoke up for your daughter and tried to make a difference. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

This is the perfect time to teach your daughter that life is not fair. Do not let her quit. Let her finish out the season and see how it goes. Good Luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

Could you maybe team up with the parent of the other child that is being left out. Maybe talk to the coach together or the organization together. Sometimes 2 heads/voices are better than one so you don't look like the only one with a problem.

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