Officer Of the Day (OOD)
The purpose of this program is to proactively establish a group of parents
whose focus is to minimize problems at the soccer games that arise from inappropriate
behavior by coaches, players, or parents.
What is a Field Officer?
A field officer is a trained parent volunteer who supervises the game sidelines at the park. The Field Officer is not a referee and is not involved in the decisions made by the referee.
How many are needed?
The goal is to have at least one officer per game every time WBSA has home games U7 and above.
What are the qualifications?
- The willingness to monitor the field condition and game behavior of coaches, spectators, referees, and players.
- KidSafe Pass.
- No soccer knowledge or skills are required.
- Field Officer training will be provided
Is there a special identification?
WBSA provides a special identification card and yellow shirt for field officers.
What if I can't attend a game and I’m the designated Field Officer?
Be sure to find a replacement from among the other trained, parent volunteers for your assignment. Also contact the Field Officer Coordinator.
What do I monitor?
You will monitor the sidelines during the game. Specifically, you will watch over two things on both sides of the field:
- Where the coaches and spectators stand. Coaches & players on one side of field, spectators on opposite side. Only those with KidSafe passes are allowed on the player side of the field. There should be no exceptions to this rule. In general, coaches and spectators must stand at least 6 feet back from the sidelines. This is to ensure the safety of the players and to make it easier for referees to observe the play of the game (and make good calls). Many adults forget these rules and need to be reminded frequently. If a coach or spectator strays beyond these areas, please ask the person to move back into the designated area. Also, a coach (except in U6) or spectator must NEVER enter the field unless invited by the referee to do so. The referee will only invite a coach if a player is injured. In these cases, the coach is only to attend to the player and then leave the field. The coach should not engage the referee in a discussion of what happened or intimidate the referee about how to make a call.
- The verbal and nonverbal discourse that the coaches and spectators may direct toward the referee and the players. An occasional “Ah, ref!” or “What was that?” will occur. However, continued disparaging or negative remarks toward the referee or players must be stopped. In addition, coaches who continually yell or scream at their players should be reminded to “tone it down.” Watch the coaches and spectators for both teams for behavior that could be harassing or intimidating to a youth referee or to players. At the direction of the referee, intervene and redirect inappropriate behavior if necessary.
What is the referee’s job in terms of negative coach or sideline behavior?
The referee has the full authority over all activities related to the game, including the behavior of those on the sidelines. If behavior is unnecessarily negative toward the referee or the players, the referee is supposed to stop the game briefly and advise the coach to bring the situation under control. In extreme cases, the referee can remove the coach from the field or abandon the game.
What are the rules and consequences?
Dissent directed towards any referee, the decisions of the referee, or any player taking part in the match is not tolerated by WBSA. Coaches are responsible for their own behavior, the behavior of their players, other team officials and all spectators on their sideline.
The referee in dealing with dissent need not issue warnings. In the event of dissent, the referee may do any of the following:
- Stop play until the administration of the requested action is completed.
- Send the coach off or request a spectator to leave the area/field.
- Request that all spectators leave the area/field, except for the adult team officials and the extra players.
- Abandon the game.
As stated in Law 5 of FIFA Laws of the Game, one of the powers and duties the referee is to “Takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surround.” In addition, “The decisions of the referee regarding behavior of coaches, players, and fans are final.” Actions taken by a referee in cautioning or removing coaches, players, and fans during the course of a match cannot be appealed or overturned. In dealing with dissent of players, the referee can issue a verbal warning, a caution (yellow card), or a send off (red card). The referee may warn, caution, or send off coaches or fans as well. However, if a coach, player or spectator has, in the opinion of that referee, committed a “sending-off offense,” that person or persons must leave the area before the game is allowed to resume.
In addition, any WBSA participants (coach, players, parents and their spectators) found in violation of this rule, which includes the use of foul and abusive language or gestures,
threats or physical contact with the referee, will be barred from WBSA activities for the remainder of the season. In addition, any coach who is sent off will be required to appear
before the WBSA Disciplinary Committee prior to returning to coaching.
How do I stop the negative behavior of a parent or spectator?
The officer should take the lead of the referee in handling such problems. Often, it is sufficient merely to go stand by someone or to engage someone adjacent in a conversation. If that doesn't work, and if the referee asks, the marshal may approach the coach of the team and privately ask him or her to attend to the conduct of the person in question. Under STYSA rules, the coach has full responsibility for the behavior of the players and the parents, even if they are on the other side of the field. If necessary, remind the coach of this responsibility and that the individual may be asked to leave the field if the behavior continues. Ultimately, the referee may stop the game if the problem persists.
What if the coach is the problem?
Use the same strategy: under the leadership of the referee, remind the coach that the game is to be a positive experience for all and that the behavior is not creating a positive
environment for the referee, players, and/or spectators. Remind the coach of the potential for a send-off violation, which will require the coach to leave the field and will result in the coach being banned from the next three regular season games and possibly other sanctions from the club or association.
Should I stop the game if there’s a problem?
No. Only the referee may stop the game.
What if we need immediate advice on the field?
You may contact ________ on game days by calling ____________.
Where should I stand?
Stand away from both teams in a “neutral” corner of the field. If there is more than one game being played, you should make yourself available at all games. Ideally, you might rotate through the several games and observe from the four corners of the field. Be sure to maintain a good distance from either team so that both the referee and the coaches and spectators know you are the field marshal. This also makes it easier for the referee to find you if necessary.
What do I do before the game?
Home games cannot begin without your presence. Introduce yourself to the referee and to the two coaches. Establish with the referee what his/her ideas are about game control and how he/she might want to employ you. Reiterate to the coaches the purpose of your job, and what the referee has asked you to monitor during the game. Make sure the referee knows where you will be standing and work out a trouble signal.
What’s the bottom line?
You are not the referee or the referee manager. Your job is to stand up for the referee — NO MATTER WHAT. Even if you disagree with what the
referee is doing, your job is to support his or her decisions. The referee’s call is final, and your job is to give the referee the support and encouragement he or she needs to employ his or her authority in cases of extreme negative behavior on the part of a coach or a spectator.
Guidance notes for coaches
- Call the parent concerned
- Outline the problem and ask for a face to face meeting
- At the meeting with the parent;
- outline the nature of the issue
- ask for any mitigating reasons which may have caused them to act inappropriately
- identify the changed behavior required
- If parent shows understanding and indicates willingness to change the coach should inform the parent that they will be monitoring their behavior for the next few games.
- Team coach to advise Field Officer Coordinator of this. If parents behavior doesn’t change in the next few games, inform the parent that the matter will be referred to
- back to Field Officer Coordinator who will refer the matter to the D&P committee
- If parent refuses to meet or demonstrates unwillingness to change behavior, team coach should inform Field Officer Coordinator of this. Field Officer Coordinator will then refer the matter to the D&P committee