It borders on the ridiculous. Opposing coaches standing 20 yards apart on the touchline without any interaction whatsoever with one another for an hour-plus before the game and during the match until shaking hands after the game.
If only they knew how better the match tends to go when the opposing coaches have a conversation before the game and wish one another good luck. A simple gesture goes a long way! And if nobody takes the first step, the home coach should welcome the visiting coach and players to the field.
Yes, I know that coaches and trainers before the match are busy sorting out who is at the field, who is still coming, putting the players through their warm-ups, etc. But there must be a few minutes to spare to talk to the opposing coaches.
During this Spring Season in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), the opposing coaches greeted one another before the game in roughly half the matches I officiated.
It’s so important to discipline because in the games that I’ve officiated so far this spring, there were 1.3 cards (yellow or red) for every 10 games where the opposing coaches greeted one another. And 13 cards (yellow or red) for every 10 matches where the opposing coaches did not interact. In other words, there were more than five times the number of cards in games where the coaches ignored one another until shaking hands after the game. Players recognize this and follow the coach, who is their role model on how to act.
And who knows, when you strike up a conversation with the opposing coach, you might have made a new friend.