Many soccer fields in Montgomery County last weekend were filled with athletes, coaches and parents, but little noise.
Coaches were able to talk to their players, and players talked to their teammates, but there was virtually no interaction between the players and those on the sidelines.
It was the latest incarnation of a concept called “Silent Saturday” that Anne Arundel County tried in January and more and more youth leagues across the country are considering to curb obnoxious, aggressive and sometimes even violent behavior by parents and spectators.
“We want the kids to make their own choices and decisions on the field,” says Jim Gordon, commissioner of Montgomery Soccer Inc. “We’d like the kids to see what it’s like to be able to play without distractions.”
“Silent Saturday” may sound extreme even its promoters agree with that but many youth sports participants and experts say something needs to be done to combat what they see as a growing and festering problem.
‘A major, major problem’
‘A one-day awareness’
‘Fear, ego and greed’