Why Slipping Should Be Banned In Youth Recreational Soccer
The purpose of this article is to encourage recreational youth soccer leagues to ban sliding tackles. The reasons are that there is a high possibility of a player being seriously injured, young referees do not know how to correctly interpret the rules regarding sliding tackles, and players are not taught how to do it correctly.
Here are 2 examples of how dangerous it can be:
1. Years ago, when I was coaching U12 recreational soccer, a player slid right into my dribbling son, went through the ball (touched it but went through it) and with cleats hit my son in the shin guards and threw him forward. He hurt his leg even through the shin guards and could have been seriously injured. The young umpire thought it was okay because the tackler touched the ball first. However, FIFA rules say that careless, reckless or dangerous play is a foul and “excessive force” is a Red Card.
2. I was watching a semi-pro game about 15 years ago and a defender attempted a sliding tackle, the dribbler jumped into the air and landed on his leg, breaking both bones. The game was delayed for 30 minutes as we watched the player in agony and heard him groan in pain. Can you imagine how traumatic it would be for children to see it? Fortunately, my son was not with me.
Honestly, I would be very concerned about allowing my son to play in a recreational soccer league that allows it. I bet the adult recreational soccer leagues in your area don’t allow it, for obvious reasons. If a youth soccer league allowed it, he would talk to the opposing coach and ask if he would agree to tell his players not to slide the tackle. If he disagreed then I would tell him that I will have to tell my players to be vigilant and jump in the air and don’t worry about falling on the sliding player, the point is if their players get hurt it’s their fault of his coaches, because I have asked him not to allow it. I would also tell him that if there is any dangerous sliding tackle, I will take my team off the field. He would print the page of the FIFA rules on “careless, reckless and dangerous play” and show it to the referee and discuss what the referee’s interpretation of the rules is. Specifically, a tackle can be “careless, reckless and dangerous” even if the ball is touched; if the tackle is dangerous, it should be a foul or even a Red Card if there is “excessive force”.
If your league needs another reason not to allow it, here are two:
1. Children are not learning to play soccer when they are on the ground.
2. Can you imagine what would happen if a child were seriously injured in a situation where the league allowed it knowing it could be dangerous (which we all know it can be) and does not require players to be taught how to slide correctly the tackle? and how to avoid injury? The demand would be huge.
As a parent, I would not allow my son to play in a recreational league that allowed slide tackles. Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea should go out and be approached multiple times (once is probably enough). Glide is fine for top athletes, select soccer teams, and professional soccer players, but not for recreational soccer players.