A Canadian youth soccer league is taking heat after introducing a new rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will actually lose by default.
The rule, intended to foster sportsmanship, replaced the Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league’s former five-point mercy regulation, which said any points scored beyond a five-point differential would not be registered, the National Post reported.
But some players and parents say the new rule will only keep these children from reaching their full potential as players and coddle sore losers.
“They should be saying anything is possible. If we can get five goals really fast, well, so can the other team,” player Kevin Cappon, 17, told the Post. "People grow in adversity… I think you’ll see more leadership skills being used if a losing team tries to recuperate than if they never got into that situation at all.”
Coppon’s father, Bruce Cappon, agreed.
“Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there,” he told the Post.
The league has 3,000 children ranging from four to 18 years old.
According to the new rules, coaches are encouraged to take measures like making players kick with their weaker foot, moving players out of their usual positions, or taking players off the field entirely if they have a strong team, the Post reported.
Club director Sean Cale told the Post the league is simply trying to make the game fair and that the new rule will eventually be replaced by a pre-season skill assessment to make fair teams, the Post reported.