DSSC puts a 'coaches code of conduct' in place because we as an organisation want to ensure that games are fair, positive and enjoyable experiences for all the children and adults involved. A soccer game should be friendly and unifying - a spirited social and athletic occasion for players, coaches, referees and spectators.

To clarify expectations, DSSC expects all coaches to conform to the following code of conduct:

  • Before, during and after the game, be an example of dignity, patience and positive spirit.
  • Before a game, introduce yourself and shake hands with both the opposing coach and the referee.
  • Understand that it is DSSC's philosophy to put the development of players above team wins and losses -coaches are charged with providing a safe and educational environment that is focused on the development of players.
  • During the game you are responsible for the sportsmanship of your players. If one of your players is disrespectful, irresponsible or overly aggressive, take the player out of the game and remind them of the correct behaviors befitting the DSSC Player Model .
  • Encourage parents to applaud and cheer for good plays by either team. Discourage them from yelling at the players from either team, and the referee.
  • During the game, you are also responsible for the conduct of all spectators rooting for your team.
  • During the game, do not address the referee at all. If you have a small issue, discuss it with the referee calmly and patiently after the game. If you have a major complaint, or if you think the referee was unfair, biased, unfit or incompetent - report your opinion to the league. Your reactions will only be taken seriously if they are presented objectively and formally.
  • After the game, thank the referee with a hand shake and congratulate the opposing team and coach - your players must do the same.
  • DSSC advises that coaches ask players to shake hands with you, the coach, before and after both practice and games. This is a part of teaching players the value of respect.

It is an organisational ambition for DSSC to be regarded as a highly respected, friendly club - a place where other communities experience a welcoming atmosphere that they look forward to returning to. Everyone associated with DSSC is responsible for ensuring that our community is recognized in this way.

We Stress two points:

1. Referees - especially young and inexperienced ones - are like your players and yourself, in that they need time to develop.  You can play an important role in helping them to improve by letting them concentrate on the game.  You can help by encouraging them, by accepting their inevitable, occasional mistakes and by offering constructive post-game comments.  On the other hand, you could discourage and demoralize the referees by criticizing their decisions, by verbally abusing them and inciting - or even accepting - your own players' overly aggressive behavior.

2. Your example - it is powerful, for better or worse.  If you insist on fair play, if you concentrate on your players' enjoyment of the game and their overall long-term development, and if you support the referee, your players and their parents will notice.  If you encourage (or allow) your players to play outside the rules, if you're overly concerned about results, if you criticize the referee harshly, your players and their parents will also notice.

Think about what you're doing during a game!  Uphold the spirit of the game!  If you follow the expectations described above, the spirit of the game will be alive and well in Dover and Sherborn, and will grow, along with the enjoyment of all.

Coaches who don't follow the expectations described above will be subject to discipline and/or removed from coaching.



Coaches, please review this presentation regarding lopsided games and measures you can take to help prevent it.

How To Stop The Scoring



All individuals responsible for a team and all spectators shall support the referee.

Failure to do so will undermine the referee's authority and has the potential of creating a hostile environment for the players, the referee, and all the other participants and spectators.

No one, except the players, is to speak to the referee during or after the game. 


Coaches may ask questions before the game, call for substitutions and point out emergencies during the game, or respond to the referee if addressed.

Absolutely NO disputing referee decisions - during or after the game, no remarks to the referee to watch certain players or attend to rough play. 

DO NOT address the referee in an aggressive / abusive manner. 

No criticism, sarcasm, harassment, intimidation, or feedback of any kind during or after the game.

If there is an issue with a referee, please document any issues to the D/S referee coordinator, Amy Davis [email protected]

Game Day

Enjoy the game! You have coached and taught the players, now let them play. Observe the play, give minimal advise from the sideline...some encouragement and constructive comments is all that's needed.  

Never criticize the referee during the game. If you have an issue about a rule or laws of the game (you should never be questioning a judgement call), speak to them after the game...set a positive example for the players and parents.


  • Be organized. Know your players strengths and weaknesses. Come prepared with a starting line up. 
  • Everyone should be ready for warm-ups 30 minutes before the game. 
  • Ensure all players are prepared for the game - shin guards covered by socks, all jewelry & bracelets removed, shirts tucked into shorts.
  • Use the warm up to prepare your players for the game ahead. Get the ball involved as quickly as possible so the players can get a feel for the ball and accustomed to the playing conditions (the field, weather conditions etc). Give goalkeepers good preparation by giving them lots of service to the hands and encourage footwork.
  • Keep teamtalks short and sharp. Tell the players their positions and a couple of good things they will need to do to have a successful game.


During The Game:

  • Ensure that you as the coach assign the player positions. DO NOT allow players to dictate where they play.
  • Have a substitution plan with equal playing time.
  • Ensure that ALL players rotate positions.
  • Provide tactical information from the sidelines - ask open-ended question to provoke thought (i.e. "How could you help your team mate who has the ball?", "Where is the space?", "Are you in the best position right now?") rather than give instructions ("Kick it", "Boot it", "Shoot it"). We want to develop players who think and make good decisions for themselves.
  • Encourage players to be creative, expressive and to try something out of the ordinary without the fear of failure. Players learn from their mistakes.
  • Have players stand on sideline with you, away from midfield. When preparing to enter the field for substitutions, players stand at midfield and wait until the referee signals them to sub in. Coaches do NOT step onto the field or stop play for substitutions.
  • Parents sit on the OPPOSITE side of the field, not on the side with the players and NOT behind the goals.
  • Set a positive example for the players. Stay calm and stay in one place. Do not cross midfield; stay on your side. Encourage the players. Examples: "Great try" or "Good idea".
  • Parents and players hearing you identify a "well done play" by the opponent also goes a long way!
  • Remember not only are the parents watching there children during the game, they are also watching you.
  • Half Time Talk - keep it short and sharp. Quickly identify good things, areas to be improved and how to achieve improvement. 


  • Give opposing team a cheer. Shake hands - sportsmanship. Also shake hands with referees.
  • Talk time to de-brief and reflect on the game with the team. Don't get hung up on the negatives; start with the positives and brush upon areas that could be improved.
  • Leave on positive terms.
  • Remind players of next game or practice.

We are asked as a Club, what options are open to a BAYS coach who feels that rough play is being allowed and he or she is worried for their players’ safety - what should a coach do?

We are sure your soccer games will be filled with rainbows and unicorns and that you will never have anything of this sort but should you find yourself in this unlikely and unpleasant situation, BAYS gave us three possible courses of actions for you to consider, perhaps as a three step process.

A.      Coaches are allowed to talk to the coaches of the opposing team. Try to find a way between the two coaching teams to de-escalate a situation.

B.      Only players on the field are permitted to speak to referee so ask one of your players as they are being subbed in to raise a concern with the referee.

C.      As a very last resort, remove your players from the field. The game will be recorded as a forfeit (this can be appealed) but the most important issue here is your players’ safety.


A first ZT2 violation issues requires a letter of unqualified apology sent to the referee and if appropriate the opposing coach. If a home DS Soccer referee is involved, a face to face apology within four weeks is also required. Lastly, the violating coach will be informed that a second ZT violation will result in a suspension of one week from practice and games.

A second ZT2 violation or a first ZT3 violation will result in a one week's suspension from coaching practice and games. A letter of apology will also be required.

A third ZT2 or a second ZT3 violation, the coach will be suspended for the remainder of the season and also for the next season.