Current perceptions of Mississippi soccer coaches, game officials, and administrators on youth sport misconduct

John David Johnson


Misconduct at youth sport events is portrayed by the media as a growing concern for youth sport producers. The purpose of this study was to describe coaches', referees', and administrators' perceptions of youth soccer misconduct, modeling, leadership, organization policy, and personal experiences. This study also examined differences of perceptions of youth sport misconduct between coaches, referees, and administrators. The population consisted of 75 coaches, 35 game officials, and 68 administrators involved with the Mississippi Youth Soccer Association (MYSA). The average age for the participants was 36.9 years for coaches, 39.5 years for game officials, and 43.3 years for administrators. Coaches and administrators averaged 7 years of experience while game officials averaged 9.5 years of experience. The participants of the study were asked to complete the Youth Soccer Misconduct Survey (YSMS). Means and standard deviations were provided for each position variable for the total number of items within Misconduct (30), Modeling (20), and Leadership (5). An ANOVA was used to determine if a significant difference existed between the perceptions of the MYSA administrators, coaches, and game officials. A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was used to determine if there was a linear relationship between the respondents' years of experience and their perception of misconduct. Within the Misconduct section an ANOVA was also used to determine differences between the Verbal, Non-verbal, and Physical Misconduct items. The results indicated that overall misconduct was not a great concern for the respondents. Verbal Misconduct was the category of most concern with a mean of 2.7 out of a five point likert-type scale. Modeling was also of little concern for the participants of the survey. The verbal modeling (VMD) and physical modeling (PMD) categories were scored below average (VMD = 2.87, PMD = 2.74). The leadership category found the individual club administration to have the highest mean (mean = 3.64) along with the United States Youth Soccer Association (mean = 3.63). MYSA game officials (mean = 3.56) and the MYSA administration (mean = 3.60) were scored similarly, while MYSA coaches were score the lowest (mean = 3.25). There was no significant difference between the perceptions of coaches, game officials, and administrators of misconduct. The results also found no significant relationships between years of experience and the perceptions of misconduct. This study did not report any significant concerns with misconduct and the MYSA. Although, the results did reveal several areas that need to be addressed as misconduct in the sport world continues to grow as reported by the media. Preventative measures should be taken to help combat any growth of unsportsmanlike conduct.