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Dec, 2021

SAYNEWS - Parent Edition

FALL 2021
Dear SAY Membership,
Thank you to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to providing youth soccer programming this fall. As the season has come to an end, SAY National would encourage you to look ahead towards 2022, and take advantage of available resources to strengthen your organization for the spring.
Over the next few weeks SAY National will be distributing a multi-part newsletter series aimed at the pillars of our organization; parents and players, coaches, referees, and administrators. Part one of this series provides resources for how parents can best support their athlete and organization, both on and off the field.
U.S. Soccer's Comprehensive Player Health and Safety Program
Recognize to Recover is aimed at promoting safe play and reducing injuries in soccer players of all ages. The first-of-its-kind, the program was developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents and referees with information, guidance and additional educational materials to improve the prevention and management of injuries.
Safe Soccer
The Safe Soccer Framework is a comprehensive program of policies and process, screening, education and training, reporting, monitoring and enforcement designed to help participants detect and report abuse, respond to it, and prevent future occurrences
SafeSport Parent Toolkit
Parents play an important role in the prevention of misconduct and abuse in sport. This free resource is designed for parents of athletes of all ages. It explains the issues of misconduct in sport and helps parents ensure their children have a positive and safe sport experience.
How to be a Positive Sports Parent
Parents impact their children’s lives like no other people can, in sports as in every other aspect. Parents, even those millions who coach their own kids, do best by their children when focusing on sports as a developmental opportunity, rather than a do-or-die, win-at-all-cost proposition.
PCA explores how showing unconditional love for children, regardless of athletic performance, and a relentless commitment to helping them process the ups and downs of youth sports marks the positive sports parent.
10 Tips For First-Time Sports Parents
As rewarding as sports parenting can be, it's not easy. Winning and losing and performing well and not-so-well are challenges your children will face in youth sports. You'll want to help them navigate those experiences and emotions, and this article can help you!
Tips for a Positive Parent/Coach Partnership
Coaches and parents both play an important role in the development of youth athletes. To ensure a positive experience for the child, and to avoid parent/coach conflict, parents should recognize the part they play in making the season a success.
Building Healthy Communities Through Sport

Project Play is anchored in the notion that all children and adolescents, regardless of zip code or ability, should have access to high-quality sport activity that allows them to develop as human beings. A mountain of evidence now documents the physical, mental, social, emotional, cognitive and academic benefits that flow to youth whose bodies are in motion.
Sport for All, Play for Life
In this report, Project Play identifies eight strategies (“plays”) that stakeholders can use to get and keep more children playing sports. The 8 plays are:
1. Ask kids what they want
2. Reintroduce free play
3. Encourage sport sampling
4. Revitalize in-town leagues
5. Think small
6. Design for development
7. Train all coaches
8. Emphasize prevention
For more information on each play, read the full report here.
Parent Resources
It’s not easy helping your child navigate today’s pressurized world of youth sports. This page offers free resources developed by Project Play and its partners, whether your goal is finding the best sport or local program for your child, mobilizing your community to improve its state of play, or coaching kids more effectively. All resources can be found at the below links.
by Doug Wood, SAY National Executive Director
Silent Saturday/Sunday is a concept in the soccer community that dates back over 20 years. A frustrated administrator in Cleveland, Ohio decided that the behavior of adults was becoming a little too rowdy and devised a plan to neutralize the trend.
A one day speaking ban for all adults was born. Since its inception, Silent Saturdays/Sundays have been widely successful and adopted by sports leagues all across the country.
When the term Silent Saturday is brought up in soccer conversation, it provokes mixed reactions. Although the parents can applaud, any speaking is prohibited. Some parents argue their intentions are only good natured or it is their constitutional right to holler at their child.
Coaches are also restricted from shouting instruction during the games which, for some, creates high levels of stress, anxiety and hand wringing. The referees, spoiler alert, universally love the idea. The kids also generally like the idea of their parents being forced to curb their enthusiasm.
SAY Soccer supports silent weekends for a wide array of reasons. Let’s remember, this is about the kids and is NOT about the parents, coaches or anyone else for that matter. These events are typically scheduled for one day and have shown to increase a players ability to make their own decisions, experiment, communicate and increase opportunities for self reflection.
All positive concepts coaches should be encouraging in young athletes but are often stymied by well-intended vocal adults. Our motto is “Kids Having Fun” and this dictum is not lip service. It is paramount in all that we do. If you haven’t tried a Silent event, do the kids a favor, give it a chance.
Check out SAY Soccer member San Francisco Youth Soccer’s dedicated webpage for a great example of age specific Silent Weekend rules.
Putting the 'Play' back in 'Play Ball'
The mission of the Changing the Game Project is to ensure that we return youth sports to our children. We want to provide the most influential adults in our children’s lives – their parents and coaches – with the information and resources they need to make sports a healthy, positive, and rewarding experience for their children, and their whole family.
Parents and Coaches
This section of our site offers some tips and advice on ways to be a great coach and covers Why Sports Matter, Athletic Development by Age, the 7 C's of Performance, Sports Nutrition, and more.
Recommended Resources
This section features the best sports parenting books and articles from each year, curated by the experts from Changing the Game Project.
View Recommended Resources

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