Note: The show is satire, we got Punk'd.
Troubled by what they see as the overemphasis on winning in sports involving kids even under the age of 10, youth soccer groups in Canada are doing something about it. In at least one community, Midlake, Ontario, kids play in leagues where they no longer keep score or even play the game with a ball.
“This year to address some of the negative effects of competition, we’ve actually removed the ball,” said Helen Dabney-Coyle of Midlake’s Soccer Association. “And the kids are loving it.”
Midlake last year stopped keeping score in soccer games, as did all leagues in the Ontario Soccer Association.
“Unfortunately, when you put an overemphasis on competition, individual skill development regresses, and that’s what’s happened in our game for so long,” said Alex Chiet, technical director of the soccer group.
Soccer officials in Ontario say that removing the score will actually create better soccer players rather than the other way around, by letting the youth players be creative without fear that a mistake will cost their team a defeat.
“You want them to try new things in game settings without the fear of failure,” said Chiet.
But Midlake has gone the rest of Ontario one better.
“The ball-less soccer this year as a challenge from a coaching perspective,” said Keith Schultz, head coach of a Midlake team called the Thundercats, a ball-less team for children under the age of 11. “I have to do a lot of imagining.”
On a CBC Radio documentary about the new Midlake ball-less soccer league, Schultz is heard asking his team, “Okay, now who wants to pretend to have the ball? When I say that Michael has kicked the ball down the field, we al have to imagine it’s down here.”