This editorial appeared in Friday's Los Angeles Times:
The American Youth Soccer Organization imposed its ultimate punishment Wednesday on three adults for brawling on the sidelines of a kids' game. Without doubt, hundreds of thousands of dedicated and demonstrably more mature AYSO parents were as pleased as if their little Maria had just headed in a corner kick. Sports fans everywhere should pump a fist in the air and shout: "Yes!"
The soccer league banned for life two coaches and a parent spectator who allegedly took part in a 30-person melee last month during a Southern California tournament. The league also disbanded the two boys soccer teams involved. The fight, which broke out after the final game between the Chino Chiefs and the Palmdale Eagles, resulted in three arrests and a number of injuries. Imagine the sad lesson that the 12- and 13-year-old players learned from watching their parents battle like suburban gladiators.
The winning-is-everything attitude is particularly at odds with AYSO's credo that "everyone plays," that teams should be balanced and that good sportsmanship is as integral to soccer as good passing. Parents who act like pitbulls are an affront to the millions of volunteer hours busy soccer moms and dads devote to coaching, refereeing and feeding oranges to AYSO players nationwide.
Hooray to the league for forcefully declaring that hooliganism will not be tolerated. We hope that message reverberates far beyond area soccer fields onto hockey rinks, baseball diamonds and basketball courts.
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