The mother of a 10-year-old boy kicked off his local football team says children’s sport is too competitive and does not send “the right message”.
Fiona’s son, Thomas, is a soccer super fan and has been playing since he was three.
However, his club merged with another six months ago and the team found themselves with more players that they would usually field for a match.
“My club, it’s very clearly stated on the wall, it’s a charter, saying that all players must get equal playing time,” Fiona told Lunchtime Live.
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“But that wasn’t the case and my little fella was getting on for maybe five minutes at a time, five minutes in a game and he is a good player.
“Regardless, even if he is rubbish, all kids should be getting equal playing time.”
Eventually, the club decided to bench Thomas entirely - a decision the family found hugely distressing.
“They said he could train with the team but he wouldn’t play with them and he could go and play with another team,” Fiona continued.
“He was obviously very, very upset about it. Football is his life and we said to the coaches that, ‘This is ridiculous. You can’t just drop a child - he’s only 10.’”
After Fiona complained, she was told that the situation would be reviewed in the New Year but was informed a few weeks ago that the decision was final.
The club said the coaches were “very hurt” by her attitude and that the situation was of her own making.
Overall, Fiona believes that sport is far too competitive for children in primary school when it should primarily be about team spirit and having fun together.
“That’s not good and it’s not sending the right message,” she said.
As for Thomas, he is still very much a football fan and is training with another club - although he goes to watch and support his former teammates.
“I don’t think [it] is a good idea but he wants to,” Fiona added.
“He brings his boots in a bag and says, ‘They’ll ask me on’ but they don’t.
“It’s very hard.”
Main image: A children's football team. Picture by: Alamy.com