Having watched this forum for a short time, I thought I would describe an incident from a recent soccer tournament that I coached in, to see what you have to say. This happened about a little over month ago, but I think it is a good place to start to have a discussion with referees about coaches. In particular, how interactions can appear to coaches and actions by referees pre-game can have on the game. (Forgive the length if I am breaking some board rule) Over all it was a well-run tournament. Tournaments are always a lot of work and not everything can go well. My philosophy for coaches (at U-10) is that they need to go into them expecting thing to be a little bumpy and not everything is going to be perfect. In addition, coaches really need to understand tournaments are more about the growth of your team as a team then about wins and losses, particularly the U-10 and below. My only problem was the referee team in that last game. In 18 years of coaching, I have only experience two other times where I have had horrible refereeing and only one of those cases was what I would say approached the level of weirdness that I would say happened in this game. Before the game, the crew walked up, got under my awning that we set up back from the field (it was lightly raining), and said jokingly that they were going to ref from there. At this point, I was trying to get the boys to line up by them so that we could go through check in. The boys got a little upset when they were told, by the Center; they were only going to play 7-minute halves instead of the 12.5 (shortened halves due to rain soaked fields, decision by tournament director, normally 25 minute halves). I told the boys to knock it off and that it really did not matter. The referees and I continued to joke about the rain and the miserable conditions. I thought everything was going well. Shortly after the game got underway there was a shot on goal that the opposing teams keeper did a great job saving. The ball went over the goal line for what I thought was going to be a corner so I yelled to the boys to set up for a corner, as they had started of sluggishly due to the rainy conditions. When the center ref called for a goal kick, I said to my assistance that it should have been a corner. (I do this because one of my assistance is real old school (played for Costa Rica in the 50s and early 60’s) if I don’t tell him that I see what he is seeing he will start to get very vocal as the game goes on. My comments were not loud enough for the center referee to hear as he was all the way down by the goal. At this point, the assistant referee working the line in front of me says (what I thought he was jokingly saying) “Oh come on, you couldn’t see that from here.” So I think he is continuing his joking from before the game by the tone in his voice, so I say sure I can and furthermore I can even hear it from hear. At that point his attitude changed and he started yell at me, about how I was wrong. I did not want to get into it with him so I turned walked farther away. My team was not playing well so I started to yell out instructions to them which did included some negative comments about how some of them where sluggish. In 18 years of coaching, I have found that when coaching boys sometimes when their coach point out that they are not hustling that they will pick up their activity because they don’t want to be seen by the team as not working as hard as the rest of them. (Different from when I coach girls because it will back fire on you, and believe me girls and boys are different.) During the second half, the team started playing much better. The talk at half had the desired effect and they snapped out of their malaise. About half way through the second half, the one girl on my team had received a pass and was dribbling down the sideline directly in front of me. At the same time a boy from the other team was running along side her, but was clearly about to get beat by her speed. When a boy trailing the play said to his teammate, “Just push her down”. At this point, I could not believe what I had just heard. I at that split moment could not believe that a little 9 year old was telling his teammate to cheat and in particular do something that could injure another person. So I said out load, not really saying it to the boys, but more to myself, thought the boy was still in range when I said it, “Woe woe woe, Don’t be telling someone to cheat, and a specially to push someone down.” This was my mistake, broke my major rule about talking to a player from another team during a game. At this point, the assistant referee turns to me from about 10 yards away and says knock off the comments. I say to him, still in disbelief at what I had heard, did you hear what he just said. He said yes and that it was not that bad. Now I could not believe that someone who’s job it is to protect the players would say something this silly, so commented back that I did think it was out of line what the boy had said. At this point he starts screaming at the center referee to “come over and talk to this coach as he has been negative all game long” I’m like wow where did that come from. The center comes over to me and says to stop being negative. I asked what rule says I am not allowed to be negative (again my mistake, but was shocked by what was going on) and was he going to do something about the boy who had said to push a player down”. By this time, the other coach has gone out onto the field and has gathered his team to talk to them. The referee asks me who said the comment, at this point I am think this is crazy, these referees are way out of line and so I said “I did not know his number”. I just wanted the game to get back underway. Just as the other team moves back into position my assistant, who thought that I really did not know the boys number, point to the boy and said to me “that’s the one” and as I say back to him quietly, “I know” the assistant again tells me “Coach shut up”. At this point, I just ignore his comment and tell my assistant to be quite for the remainder of the game, as I just wanted it to be over. In addition, for most of the weekend, the assistant referee on my side and I would talk and have a good time (my god it is only U-10). A little bit of background, I have played since I was 6, coached for over 18 years and was a referee (only grade 8) for a few years so I have seen all sides. I know that I made some errors in judgment during the affair, but I think that sometimes referees should learn to ignore comments from coaches that are not directed at them and are not abusive to the players. Interested in your comments, as I really believe that it is in the best interest of the game for coaches and referees to get along and not to be so adversarial.