Irate Parents Cause Broken Arrow Soccer Ref To Take Action - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |


Irate Parents Cause Broken Arrow Soccer Ref To Take Action

Posted: Updated:
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

Springtime in Oklahoma brings a new season of youth sports and adults on the sidelines losing their cool.

Parents getting riled up at their kids' games is nothing new but many say the trend is getting so bad, it's turning some kids away from sports altogether.

News On 6 met with a Broken Arrow man who is on a nationwide mission to make it stop.

It doesn't get much worse than when two Union coaches got into a full-on brawl at a 3rd-grade football game last fall after one coach benched the other coach's son.

9/18/2017 Related Story: Union Youth Football Coaches Reportedly Suspended After Fight During Game

The incident highlights what many see as a growing problem in youth sports: adults behaving badly.

“Our kids are soaking that up like a sponge,” said Tulsa Parent Child Center Counselor Steve Hahn.

Hahn said coaches and parents often set examples they would not want their kids to follow.

"It's the sport. They're there, they're psyched up, they're ready to go. So, when they see something occur that they don't agree with, they're in it psychically, they're in it verbally, and they become aggressive," Hahn said. 

The targets of this behavior can be coaches, other parents, and of course, the referees, who are often-times just kids themselves.

Aidan Jacob reffed his first game when he was 11 and at 13, said the abuse just keeps coming.

“Last week we had parents and coaches get mad. We almost called the police,” Jacob said. 

Unfortunately, Jacob is far from alone.

“I've removed coaches, I've removed parents, I've removed announcers,” said soccer referee Melissa Carter.  

All of this led to a tipping point for veteran soccer referee Brian Barlow of Broken Arrow. 

“I just thought someone has to do something and why not me,” he said. 

Barlow started a Facebook page called Offside which gave refs, coaches, and parents a forum to discuss what was happening to the sport they love.

Barlow then decided to take it a step further.

“I've probably got 200 to 300 videos at this point in time,” he said. 

He offered a $100 bounty for video he posts on the page showing parents and coaches out of control.  

So far about a dozen videos have made the cut.

“I'm not against parents. I'm against parents that can't contain or control their emotions or judgment on the sidelines of a soccer pitch,” Barlow said. 

The movement, which Barlow calls STOP, as in "Stop Tormenting Officials Permanently", is going nationwide.

Barlow said he's gotten support from high-level soccer officials around the country.

“The whole initiative is built on the fact that referees are human. We make mistakes. Things happen but let the game play out,” said Barlow. 

That's advice Steve Hahn is happy to endorse.

He said parents need to remember that when they are angry and out of control, it places tremendous stress on their children.  

“We have to learn how to present loss as a teachable moment with our kids,” said Hahn. 

Otherwise, the teachable moments we show our kids may be something we're not proud of.

That's a lesson a now former Union coach learned the hard way.

“I would like to tell them honestly, that I’m so sorry. They didn't deserve that and I mean it from the bottom of my heart,” the coach said. 

Brian Barlow presented the STOP program at a national soccer conference in Philadelphia earlier this year and said almost 250 clubs and organizations around the country are interested in becoming affiliates.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103 is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.