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Coaches Corner of Information

MLU 6 Goal Rule of Thumb

Coaching children is an honor and a privilege that carries with it a moral responsibility to contribute to the healthy character development of young players. Sportsmanship has always been, and will continue to be one of the most important parts of our mission here at MLU. Players who practice good sportsmanship are more likely to carry the respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life.

How do we as coaches stress the importance of good sportsmanship and ultimately pass it along to our players and their parents? Coaches who equate “trying your best” as the definition of success – and who value, expect, and demand good sportsmanship from their players – help shape the moral, ethical, and spiritual character of their players. This includes respecting team members, opponents, coaches, and officials; always stressing polite behaviors such as helping an opponent up off the ground and shaking hands before and after a match.

Let’s focus our attention on player development, and praise them as their individual skills improve. This will allow your players to see themselves as winners, regardless of the score at the end of a match. It is also very important that we applaud good play, regardless of the team, and accept bad calls made by the referee(s) gracefully. Remember, at the end of the day, this is supposed to be FUN. You and the team parents should be able to enjoy the game of soccer, while realizing all the benefits these children are gaining.

One of the ways to encourage good sportsmanship is to keep one team from out-scoring their opponent to the extent it is considered unsportsmanlike. More than a 6 goal differential should be considered unsportsmanlike in Recreation soccer, and MLU travel teams should adhere to the same rule of thumb in league games, friendlies and tournament games.

We can’t control what our opponents do, and in the heat of the competition, you should shy away from addressing the other coach when they are running up the score. If you feel like you are in a game where your opponent is not following the same Sportsmanship guidelines, you should ask for the referee, request that she/he speak with the opponents’ coach about easing up on the amount of goals scored.

Here are a few coaching suggestions if you ever find yourself on the winning side in the middle of a lopsided match, where the ‘Six Goal Rule’ is at risk of being broken:

1. Move players into different positions (example: move your leading scorer into the goal and/or put your offensive players in the back and move your defenders forward)

2. Challenge your players by requiring them to shoot with their weaker foot (develops the weaker side) by only allowing them to shoot when the ball comes from a cross (emphasizes team width)

3. Put players on a touch-restriction (limiting touches requires player to concentrate on their first touch and then get their head up to find passing options)

4. Require your team to connect a certain number of consecutive passes before a shot can be taken (requiring movement off the ball)

5. Playing with fewer players on the field.

6. Have your players carry the ball into the offensive corner arc, play it back past midfield, and go to the other offensive corner arc for a ‘TEAM GOAL’. Don’t celebrate these goals, but keep track so that you can address them with praise, after the game.

These are only a few suggestions of how you can challenge your players in the unfortunate event of a lopsided game, without running up the score.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns: 

[email protected]


The Importance of Sportsmanship

  • Because taunting, trash talk and intimidating behavior have no place in youth sports.
  • Your admission is to watch the performance of highly impressionable kids- not a license to abuse coaches, players, officials and spectators.
  • You want others to treat you the way you want to be treated - how many of us want to be treated with disrespect?
  • We need more positive role models for our children.
  • People don't always remember the final score - but they always remember the fan on the touchline who made a fool out of him or herself.
  • Because coaches and officials are also teachers. Why would you harass them in the classroom?
  • A national survey indicates kids play sports to have fun, not to be # 1!
  • It's how you play the game that counts.
  • It's simply the right thing to do
  • Because sportsmanship begins with YOU!!! 

Coaches Conduct

  • Be reasonable in your demands on the young players' time, energy, enthusiasm and their performance on the soccer field.
  • Impress on your players that they must abide by the rules of the game at all times.
  • Develop team respect for the ability of the opponents, and for the judgment of referees and opposing coaches.
  • Ensure that your players' soccer experience is one of fun and enjoyment (winning is only part of it). Players should  never be ridiculed for making mistakes or for losing games.
  • Set a good example and be generous with your praise when it is deserved. Children need a coach they can respect.
  • Keep informed about sound principles of coaching, growth and development principles relating to children.
  • Enlist the support of your teams' parents in your efforts to instill the proper attitude and values in the players.
  • Check equipment and facilities that you use. They should meet safety standards and be appropriate for the age and ability of your players
  • Follow the advice of a physician when determining when an injured child is ready to play again

Reporting an Incident

If you want to report an incident, email our Sportsmanship director and provide the following information

  • Your team name
  • Your team age and gender
  • A brief explanation of what happened
  • Your name and telephone number


Mt. Laurel United Soccer Association, Inc.
3111 Route 38 Suite 11 #134 
Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054

Phone: 856-336-5415
Email: [email protected]

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