Honoring the Game

Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self

UpdatedMonday April 15, 2019 byBill Gibbons, Director of Conduct & Safety.


As our weather warms up and our spring leagues and state tournaments have kicked into gear, there is great anticipation over how well the team will perform after working hard all winter. There may even be aspirations to win the state championship. With the excitement and investment in working to be the best team, players, coaches, and parents can sometimes get blinded or forget our core principles in “Honoring the Game”. At CBAA and Buckingham United soccer we strive to promote fair play, sportsmanship, and strength of character in everything we do. “Honoring the Game” is a Positive Coaching Alliance and CBAA/Buckingham United principle about sportsmanship encouraging leaders, coaches, parents and athletes to respect all aspects of their sport.

The ROOTS of Honoring the Game is an acronym which stands for better respecting: Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.

The rules of a sport have been developed and modified for a reason. Rules keep the game fair, and they also keep athletes safe. Don’t try to work against the rules or bend them; respect the role they play in your sport.

As you want respect, give respect to your opponents. As Jim Thompson suggests in his book, “fierce and friendly” opponents are what we should strive to be and have in competition.

Officials are doing the best they can to enforce the rules and maintain a safe environment for play. They are people too, doing the best they can, and there is never an excuse for disrespecting officials.

Make your teammates proud by doing the best you can (on and off the field) and by supporting them in all their efforts.

Finally, and most importantly, you have to respect yourself in order to uphold an honorable approach to sports. Set high standards and live up to them.

As parents, coaches, and players take few minutes to think about how you are applying these principles during your games. Being mentally prepared before you get into a highly competitive situation will ensure you are able to live up to our fair play and sportsmanship principles.

Here are few tips to help you Honor the game:

Before the Game

·       Commit to Honoring the Game in action and language no matter what others may do.

·       Tell your children before each game that you will be proud of them regardless of how well they perform.

During the Game

·       Fill your children’s “Emotional Tanks” through praise and positive recognition to help them play their best.

·       Fill their teammates’ tanks, too!

·       Do not instruct your child during game action or at breaks; let the coaches coach.

·       Cheer good plays by both teams.

·       Mention good calls by the official to other parents.

·       If you disagree with an official’s call, Honor the Game – BE SILENT!

·       If other spectators yell at officials, gently remind them to Honor the Game.

·       Don’t do anything in the heat of the moment that you will regret after the game.

·       Ask yourself, “What do I want to model right now for my child?”

·       Remember to have fun and enjoy the game.

After the Game

·       Thank the officials for doing a difficult job for little or no pay.

·       Thank the coaches for their commitment and effort.

·       When reviewing the game with your children, ask rather than tell. Instead of immediately sharing your opinions or telling them how they can improve, ask questions such as “What did you learn from that game?” or “What was your favorite play?” or “What was the most fun part of that game?”

·       Remember to give your children truthful and specific praise…not just the typical “good game” but, for example, “I saw how well you moved your feet on defense.”

·       Tell your children again that you are proud of them whether the team won or lost.

Wishing all of our teams the best this season,

Bill Gibbons

CBAA Soccer Director of Conduct and Safety 


Additional Resources

If you would like more information on “Honoring the Game” please visit

Follow Changing the Game Project click here & booklet click here

CBAA / Buckingham United Soccer Mission and Philosophy click here

CBAA Intramural and Rec Soccer Guidelines click here

Buckingham United Playing Time Guidelines click here

Buckingham United Coaches Expectations click here

Buckingham United Player Expectations click here