Codes of Conduct

Virginia Youth Soccer Association and SOKS

These are the codes of conduct for participation in youth soccer as determined by the VYSA* and SOKS.  Coaches, Parents, Players and Referees should be familiar with and abide by these league guidelines.


Coaches and assistant coaches are expected to maintain the highest level of sportsmanship, professionalism, and integrity both on and off the field.  A coach’s primary responsibilities are for his/her players to have fun, to develop them as soccer players, and to instill a passion for the game.  The performance of a coach is not measured in wins and losses, but rather in what is taught to players in terms of technique, sportsmanship, and fair play.  Coaches must maintain respect for the game as well as the referees.  Coaches are charged with the responsibility of controlling their players and parents at all times during a match.  Coaches lead and teach by example; players will be a reflection upon each coach.

Coaches and assistant coaches are expected to:

  • Have a basic knowledge of the game and pursue coaching education allowing them to better develop their players.
  • Use positive reinforcement when dealing with players.  Never use foul or abusive language, and never abuse a player mentally, verbally, or physically.
  • Have respect for the authority of the referee and his/her assistants.  They should not harass, abuse or berate the referee during the match.  They should not enter the field of play without the referees’ permission.
  • Arrive at practice on time, and stay until all children have been picked up.
  • Respect the rights, dignity, and worth of every player and treat each equally within the context of the sport, regardless of gender, or other differences.
  • Allow each player to play at least half of every game.
  • Remove players from a game if they are not in control of themselves or demonstrate a lack of sportsmanship.  Said players should be given an opportunity to cool down and should be instructed on proper field etiquette before returning to the field.
  • Hand out schedules and league news and information in a timely manner
  • Inform all players/parents of changes in games or practices.

In addition, coaches should not recruit or pick up players on their own.  Interested players must register with the league registrar, and will be assigned to a team by the board.  Unregistered players and players not approved by the SOKS board will not be allowed to play until they have been cleared to do so.  Games involving an unregistered player will be considered a forfeit.

Parents and Spectators

Parents/Spectators must set the example for the children by exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship.  They participate in a game by watching, cheering, and supporting the efforts of all participants of the game.  Soccer must be fun!  The game is for the children.  Their participation and enjoyment of the game are the most important elements.  Parents have responsibilities to the coach, team, and soccer organization.  They should have respect for their coach, all the children on their team as well as the opposing team, and the authority of the referee and his/her assistants.

Parents/Spectators are expected to:

  • Watch the game from the opposite side of the field from players and coaches.
  • Have respect for the authority of the referee and his/her assistants.  They should not harass, abuse or berate the referee during the match.  They should not enter the field of play without the referees’ permission.
  • Have respect for the coach and his/her assistants.  They should never criticize a coach in a public manner.  They should never coach from the sideline and should let the coach do his/her job no matter how much they disagree.  Questions or problems should be addressed one-on-one with the coach first and then with a board member if a solution is not reached.
  • Have respect for all players.  Cheer in a positive manner, not negative.
  • Encourage their team, and compliment the accomplishments of the other team.  They should not berate, speak to, or criticize opposing players/coaches. Nor should they encourage rough or unsportsmanlike play from their child(ren).
  • Avoid using foul or abusive language at any time or for any reason.
  • Have a responsibility to learn the rules of the game and the spirit of the game.
  • Get involved with the organization and volunteer as able.
  • Demonstrate the utmost in sportsmanship and integrity as the role models for their children.


Children play soccer to have fun, to learn and develop a passion for the game as well as to improve their skills.  Players have a responsibility to their team, coach, and soccer organization.  They are representatives of the team, coach, parents and community.  They must maintain a high level of sportsmanship and fair play.

Players are expected to:

  • Play within the rules of the game.
  • Be on time for matches and practices.
  • Display self-control in all situations, and not use foul or abusive language at any time; practices or matches.  Play the game under physical and emotional control.
  • Show respect for the referees and his/her assistants by not arguing with, harassing or berating.  Players should only speak to referees respectfully.
  • Show respect and sportsmanship toward opposing players and coaches at all times.


Referees are responsible for the safety of the players and the coaches during the match.  Referees must know the laws of the game and enforce them fairly.  They have responsibility for upholding the laws and the spirit of the game.  Referees should show respect for the players, coaches, spectators and for the game itself.

Referees are expected to:

  • Always maintain the utmost respect for the game.
  • Remain unbiased toward both teams and coaches at all times.
  • Answer questions and explain calls made during a match to help educate all involved.
  • Conduct themselves honorably and maintain the dignity of his/her position.
  • Always honor a commitment to a match they have agreed to referee.
  • Keep score of the match.

*Most of these codes of conduct are taken directly from the Virginia Youth Soccer Association’s handbook, and are the expectations of all soccer organizations under the VYSA.