So I got a chance to go out and take a look at Copa Charleston Saturday morning. For those unfamiliar with the concept of the event, or the World Futbol Tour of which it is a part, I described it earlier this week in this post.
My impressions from walking around a bit this morning:
The no-communication rule is not draconian: But it works.
What I most wanted to observe was how the parents and coaches behaved in a festival environment where referees can punish parents and coaches who spend the game shouting instructions at the kids during matches by awarding the other team a 60-second power play (by removing one player from the field). Would it cut down on cheering? How would it affect the atmosphere?
And what I heard was plenty of cheering and lots of comments that could have been construed as “instruction.” There’s a little difference between a parent shouting “Go Sarah!” and “Go Sarah! Faster! Stay on her!” but this is where enlightened officiating comes in. Sure, I heard a few coaches shouting instructions (some of the in Spanish), but it was a big change from the constant barrage of instruction that I hear on the sidelines of a college match.
Bottom line? The vibe here was pleasant, upbeat, and supportive. A few parents might have occasionally stepped up to the line, but for the most part, the majority acted like the understood and respected the Code of Conduct developed by WFT founder Kenyon Cook.
There were an awful lot of people there: Big kids. Little kids. Boys. Girls. Adults. And their siblings, parents, grandparents. The parking lot was filled past capacity, and the field was abuzz with constant action. And really and truly, they all looked to be enjoying themselves.
There’s an interesting social dynamic, too, because the teams are really the focus, not the individual families, but both were part of the scene. Kids in uniforms, but then multiple generations of supporters gathered around club tents.
I’ll update this later with the results… which everyone at the the event was accessing via the WFT Phone App.
These are smart, smart people.
TOP IMAGE: Families come and go at the James Island Soccer Club field. Dan Conover photos.