Angry Parents Cause Drop in Referee Applicants

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s as common at youth soccer games as shots and goals – parents berating officials.

One South Carolina soccer league is ordering parents to keep quiet at games, during what they’re calling “Silent September.”

“I would love to see that in St. Louis,” says Ron Jones, who’s been assigning referees for the St. Louis Youth Soccer Association for nearly 30 years.

Jones says because of the flack the referees, as young as 13-years-old, take it’s getting harder to find and keep them. He says until recently, they’d have up to 300 applicants a year, but that’s changed.

“About 70 referees is about all we were able to train last year, and I would say probably close to half of them will definitely not be coming back this fall,” he says.

Missouri Youth Soccer Association Executive Director Nick Bushell says they’re always looking for ways to help and would not rule out a Silent September.

“This would be something that we’d have to do with a lot of communication with our leagues and our clubs and our members,” he says.

Bushell says he’ll be interested in finding out how it goes in South Carolina.

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