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Pulling Your Team From Competition For Player Safety

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"Recently a soccer game got out of control (blind side fouls). The referee was unapproachable threatening coaches with red cards. Yet the referee did little to thwart this behavior. Finally the coach pulled his team. My question is if the PCA has a particular position on this topic?"

PCA Response By Ruben Nieves, PCA Director of Training
Physical and emotional safety of the participants must be the number one priority of any youth sports organization and of the various adults involved.

PCA’s position is that “pulling your team” is a last resort but must remain an option when participant safety is jeopardized for any reason, including extremely dangerous play that is not, or cannot, be controlled by the game officials.

Among the challenges here are exercising good judgment and not letting emotions cloud that good judgment. Keep in mind that playing sports always involves the risk of injury, even when play is clean and the officiating is top notch.

A related PCA position is that a high priority should be placed on actually playing the game. This is what the kids have worked for and looked forward to. So we would encourage coaches to ask what reasonable adjustments can be made to actually allow the game to be played.

The main reason the league and club say to “never” pull a team is that a better solution almost always is available. This potential “better solution” also is more likely to teach the players the right life lesson, while keeping them safe.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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