EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an edited message from Jeff Grant, the Daily Pilot Cup referee director. The six-day youth soccer tournament, in its 15th year, begins Tuesday in Costa Mesa.
Now that we are close to the start of the tournament, I want to take a minute of your time to remind you of the role of the referees in this tournament.
All of our referees are volunteers, most no longer have kids playing in the Pilot Cup, some are youth referees, these are men, women and kids who take time out of their days and evenings, many times the adults leave work early, so that your kids can play.
Without referees, this tournament would not be held.
They are there to make the game safe, fair and fun for the players. I have spent countless hours in the days leading up to this tournament recruiting, pleading with and pressuring referees to cover games.
I will do my very best to get at least a center referee for every game in this six-day tournament, over 300 games, not an easy task.
It gets harder when coaches, spectators and players yell at, argue with and harass the officials. Last year saw several embarrassing displays of sportsmanship by adults in attendance, a couple of teams lost points in the standings and a couple of coaches were suspended from subsequent games due to their inability to control themselves.
Coaches have to be responsible for themselves and their sidelines. Any red card on the field, any spectator or coach send-off, any consistent harassment from a sideline will result in a point deduction as well as a possible suspension or disqualification. We will not tolerate sideline interference.
This should be a fun tournament for the kids, an opportunity to play soccer with their friends and classmates, please don't let the adults in attendance lose perspective and ruin it for all.