tp-edm-soccer-coaches

Two under-16 teams play at Edmonton Soccer Centre West on Monday. ((CBC))

The Edmonton Minor Soccer Association is telling coaches to discipline players who get too rough on the field. That message will be reinforced at mandatory coaches meetings beginning Tuesday night.

The meetings were prompted by a growing number of complaints from parents about aggressive play in indoor games.

"We're hoping the coaches will take responsibility and if they see negative behaviour, that they talk to that player or sit them for a while," said Kathy Doreske, with the association’s discipline committee.

The meetings will target about 800 coaches of players aged 10 to 18.

Teams are halfway through their schedules, so games are becoming more competitive as teams fight for precious points, she said. The soccer association held similar meetings a couple of years ago, said Doreske. 

"It really helped curb some of the aggressive play in the second half of the season."

The biggest concern is players getting hit along the indoor boards.

While coaches and referees aren't seeing anything unusual on the field, they agree the meetings are a good idea. 

"It's changed over the last few years, where you've got a lot of people saying, 'No, we don't want to see boarding,'" said referee Richard Dixon. "It takes everybody in the soccer community to do that."

"We haven't seen anything significant as far as injuries or hits from behind or head injuries or anything like that, so its a little perplexing to us as to what the meetings are all about," said Serge LaBrie, who coaches the Spruce Grove Saints U16 team.

But being more vigilant can't hurt, LaBrie said. "The last thing we want is a kid with a broken neck."