Spirit of the Game
This handbook is provided to help everyone better enjoy the competitions provided by the Morris County Youth Soccer Association by setting forth procedures, operations, attitudes and courtesies to be observed. It is our goal to promote good sportsmanship among our players, coaches, and spectators.
This handbook is not a definition of rights to be applied advantageously. It is a guide for people who are willing to cooperate with each other within the structure of league administration.
Morris County Youth Soccer Association (MCYSA) shall be the sole interpreter of the provisions of this Handbook.
This handbook applies to play in all Divisions within MCYSA. Some procedures for Division VI have been modified. A summary of those modifications is included at the end of this handbook.
To understand the contents of this handbook, you should always be aware of our motto:
-"Kids come First"-
We want you to support this theme by recognizing the value of developing youngsters in:
Learning the Game
Becoming Sports Participants
Gaining Personal Confidence and Pride
Acquiring Team Spirit
Setting Objectives and Striving Toward Them
These ambitions are attainable only through fun. It is the League's desire is to promote fun and it is everyone's job to attain this goal. The winning of games is really only the focus of the play. It should not be allowed to become the measure of success.
Coaches should read the material contained in this handbook before the season starts. Experience has shown that clarification of several points about soccer will go a long way toward making the sport more enjoyable for fans and players. You should discuss these principles with your players' parents before the first game.
Soccer is now over 140 years old. Most likely, the Laws of the Game will remain almost the same in the next 140 years. Finding fault with the laws or procedures is counterproductive.
Soccer is a game involving great freedom for the players. Attempts to control the action on the field from the touch lines are the opposite of what is intended by the sport. Coaches or parents should not belly-up to the line or run up and down the field along with the play. While a coachable moment may be used to instruct players, the players will benefit most from appreciative fans and coaches who can wait until practice time to teach.
Soccer is a game of physical contact and one where fouls are sometimes overlooked. There are times when a player of low skill but good strength will prevail against a skilled opponent by strength alone. When a player is fouled and his or her team still has the ball in an advantageous position, the referee has the option of not stopping the play to permit that the team to maintain its advantage. A foul must be intentional before the referee stops play. These are concepts for the new spectator to grasp.
In the game of soccer, the referee is given control. This control applies before, during and after the game and includes both players and adults. Most calls made by the referee have to do with the ball going off the field. This is done with the help of a linesperson.
League Soccer is a contest of teams, not an extension of practice time. There are no time outs, no bending of the laws to help a badly losing team, no punishing to fit the crime, no covering up for bad behavior by apologizing to the referee.
Player attitude is a direct reflection of adult leadership. Players, who are a credit to their Club, are made that way. While the arousal of players is valued in boxing, American football and rugby, it is detrimental in sports like soccer where skill and judgment are paramount.
THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME
Soccer is more than a simple game. It is an emotional experience.
The mechanics of play amount to the movement of a ball, about the size of a man's head, between two targets set some distance apart. But, during the course of just one game, the whole range of human emotions from the depths of despair to utter joy can be touched in the hearts of those who play or watch. Somewhere in these emotions lies the key to the Spirit of the Game, a term often mentioned but seldom defined. Merely to talk about fouls, violations and the application of laws, without considering the spirit in which they are intended to be applied would be a grave omission. The spirit behind the application of the Laws is what is important. This spirit --The spirit of the Game -- is defined by but not limited to three important considerations.
All players must have an equal opportunity to demonstrate individual skills without undue interference from opponents. Physical size is not an essential requirement for success. A player of small stature can contribute as much by quick reactions and great maneuverability as one whose assets include height and strength. Many players of small physique have achieved world wide fame by demonstrating their outstanding skills.
Much stress is laid on the safety of players in normal match play. In specifying the size of the playing area, the components used and the equipment of players care is taken to eliminate anything which may prove dangerous.
The Laws are specific on punishments for infringements and misconduct. It is clearly implied that the game is intended to be played within a code of conduct based on accepted principles of mutual respect between people from all walks of life. Only by observing these principles can the game be played with maximum enjoyment.
Soccer as we know it today has been played for well over 100 years. The International Board (FIFA) has always been careful not to confuse players and spectators by continually making changes to the 17 Laws. This is why it is possible to play matches between teams from different continents of the world without any real difficulties about the way the game should be played. Most soccer players and spectators have a general grasp of the basic laws, but the more they are understood the more pleasure people will get from the game. Players who do not understand the laws may feel unfairly treated by the referee.
A greater understanding of the interpretation of the laws contributed towards the high standard of discipline and behavior of players seen during the World Cup matches and added to the pleasure of the millions who saw the series. A referee must have a complete knowledge of all laws and the many official decisions relating to them, as well as a true understanding of the spirit of the game.
It can not be expected that players and spectators should have such expert knowledge. Those who have studied the Laws are often surprised to see an apparent offense ignored by the referee. Much is left to the opinion of the referee especially when he has to decide between what is intentional and what is accidental; his nearness to the incident helps him to form a better judgment. He may also see an offense but think it is of more advantage to let play continue than to stop and give the offended team a free kick. The referee is human and therefore makes mistakes - but he makes fewer than is generally supposed.
Summarizing then, the main features of the Spirit of the Game are simply EQUALITY, SAFETY and ENJOYMENT.