Recently there was a rather heated discussion on the Soccer Forum about the appropriateness of giving Yellow (or Red!) Cards to young players. If you’re not familiar with soccer, a yellow card is given to a player as a caution for some kind of unsportsmanlike behavior. If a player gets two yellow cards in a game, they must leave the game immediately and the team must play short.
Many people have said that they don’t think that young girls (8,9,10) shouldn’t ever get yellow cards because their actions are unintentional. I couldn’t disagree more! Youth soccer is shockingly rough and I believe that proper behavior should be taught at the youngest ages. Referees at that age (as well as coaches) are teaching the girls to play the game the right way. Yes, their actions may be unintentional, but how will they learn from their mistakes if their mistakes are not pointed out? Excellent referees (an oxymoron?) take the extra minute to talk to players and let them know exactly what behavior is unacceptable.
Yellow cards can be given for many reasons, including rule violations. One of Big Soccer Girls’ friends got a yellow card at U9 for waiting to take a penalty kick until her team mate tied her shoes- too cute! Big Soccer Girl herself got a very questionable yellow card last year for bounce passing the ball on the sideline to a girl on the opposing team for a throw in. I guess the ref thought she was throwing it at her! Both of these instances seem ridiculous, but neither them will make those errors in the future where the penalty could be must greater.
Most yellow cards are given for rough play/fouls. Again, young girls are not as skilled with their tackles, but what better time for them to learn?? One thing that I can’t ever understand is parents wanting their little girls to hurt other little girls! I know that soccer is an aggressive, contact sport, but do we really want to encourage 9 year old girls to “take her out”? The more the referees are on top of the game, the more the girls will develop the skill of playing soccer rather than developing linebacker skills. Playing strong and physical is one thing…playing tor hurt someone is another. If one of my daughters plays dirty please yellow card her! I want them to learn the right way to play and conversely I want the players around them to play the beautiful game as well.
What do you think about yellow cards for young players?