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A moment of silence for soccer moms and dads

Parents react to league's new silent measure

Posted: November 24, 2008 9:28 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 

Soccer moms and dads observed 50 minutes of silence at Arroyo Seco and Rio Norte junior high schools Nov. 16 during three rounds of the valley's first-ever silent soccer games.

The rules to the game have changed. Parents could clap lightly, but no loud cheering or talking was allowed. If children could hear parents talking from the sidelines, parents were asked to be silent.

"I hate Silent Day and I will not support it," said Mike Lewis, parent of Brandon Lewis. During a break, Brandon said he hates Silent Day because there is no coaching or guidance so he is confused about what to do.

Brian and Tina Calbot, parents of players Austin and Haley, said it is their childrens' first year in AYSO.

"It is ludicrous that there is no cheering allowed," Brian Calbot said. "It's sports, it's a competition - you should be able to motivate and encourage your kids. There are no positives or any need for this. Parents come to support their kids and it is very hard not to cheer."

AYSO employees and board members generally had a positive outlook on the event.

Dave Chambers, the field director for AYSO, said so far parents were supportive, and that only one parent had acted negatively toward him. Another parent was negative but said he would give the event a try and might be positive about it afterward.

Maria Cuadra has been a board member for three years and a participating parent for 10 years. She thought this was a perfect opportunity for players ages 10 to 12 to think for themselves and build teamwork through encouragement. She says the games are very competitive and in the past parents were getting out of hand on the sidelines. On high school teams, there are stricter rules and no direction, so these kids should start preparing for this now, she said.

Referee Scott Cruit worked with AYSO for four years and this was the first time he tried a silent game. He loved it and said the players loved it, too.

He said it was easier to communicate with less noise and the kids played well. He believes it's a player's game and does not understand why the parents have to micromanage.

Parent Keith Roberts didn't quite have the same outlook.

"I think it is a bit much and I feel like my rights are being taken away," he said.

He said he was yelled at just for having a conversation with someone next to him.

Jerry Stupar, a parent and a coach, offered a different perspective. He coaches the women's soccer team at Antelope Valley College.

The silent games make players more vocal, and it shows a better reflection of their training, he said.

"The players in the field control the game, and this experience will help them be better in the field," Stupar said.

Heather Fox, a local parent of the under-10 team, said it was very hard for her not to cheer "woo-hoo," but is happy she was allowed to clap.

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