In mid-January, a 45 year old soccer coach was arrested and charged with “contacting a minor with intent to commit certain offenses.” (Full story here). The details of this charge highlight again the importance of associations establishing clear guidelines on when and how coaches may directly contact players. In this case, the coach was sending text messages directly to an 11 year old girl on his team. The coach was confronted by the parents, apologized and promised to cease contact. However, the mother still reported the matter to the police and charges were lodged.
Younger and younger players have access to text and social media. It is incumbent upon a club to recognize the potential risk in communications between children and adult volunteers. These guidelines should be communicated to all coaches prior to the season and strictly enforced.