In another move designed to protect children from the horrors of losing, a Canadian youth soccer league has come up with a new rule: If a team wins a game by more than five goals, that team loses by default.
The Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league in Ottawa says the rule is intended to prevent blowout victories. The rule replaces its five-goal mercy regulation, whereby any goals scored beyond a five-goal differential would not be registered.
Kevin Cappon, 17, has played in the league for five years. During a game last month, with his team ahead by the "allowed maximum" of five goals, Cappon said the players just kicked the ball around for the rest of the game so they wouldn't lose. He said the rule is just dumb.
“They should be saying anything is possible. If we can get five goals really fast, well, so can the other team,” Cappon said. “People grow in adversity, they don’t really get worse…. I think you’ll see more leadership skills being used if a losing team tries to recuperate than if they never got into that situation at all.”
Cappon's father Bruce echoed his son. “Everybody wants a close game, nobody wants blowouts, but we don’t want to go by those farcical rules that they come up with,” he said. “Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there.”
In addition to the five goals rule, other new measures include encouraging coaches of stronger teams to: rotate players out of their usual positions, ensure players pass the ball around, ask players to kick with the weaker foot, take players off the field, and encourage players to try and score from farther away.
League Director Sean Cale defends the new rules, saying the league is not trying to take the fun out of the game -- it is simply trying to make it fair.