Responsibilities of a Soccer Field Marshal
If you are a soccer parent, volunteering to be a field marshal may be part of how you help your child’s team, especially during tournaments. In California for example, the California Youth Soccer Association requires soccer leagues at all sites to provide field marshals, ideally adults who know the game and its rules. Leagues in Calgary, Alberta, require marshals to keep parent abuse of teen referees in check, reports the CBC. Montgomery County, Maryland’s 15,000-player MSI youth league looks at the field marshal as part of a five-way partnership that also includes a game leader, coach, spectators and players.
You’re in charge of handling tasks other than coaching during the games or tournament. The exact duties depend on the soccer club your child plays for, but they will involve getting the field ready for play. Arriving 30 minutes before your first assigned game and after signing in at the referee station you'll have time to attend to your pre-game duties like; inspecting the field before play to ensure that it is free of objects that might cause injury to players. You'll be looking for issues such as rocks, sprinkler heads exposed by wear and tear of the turf or goals out of position or missing their sandbags or tie-downs. Bring any problems to the attention of the referee and tournament director if present. Make sure all equipment is on the fields including nets, corner flags, tables, chairs and tents. Ask for help from the first teams on the field with setting up nets and corner flags.
During the afternoon it'll be your task to monitor the weather, using a lightning detector if needed. Don't forget to pay the referees; and with the assistance of the last teams on the field, take down the nets and corner flags and store them in containers. Bag and tie garbage and bring it to an appropriate dumpster. Pick up any lost items and put them in the club’s equipment room.
As the enforcer of the rules you'll have to be visible, so wear your field marshal vest during your shift. You need to make sure that there is no smoking within the field complex, no foul language and no pets if they are not permitted. Assist the teams in getting games started on time. Review the schedule to know what teams and referees need to be on the field at one time. Introduce yourself to referees and coaches. Check in players on the sidelines if games are running late. Remind the referee to complete a send-off report if a player receives a red card and to forward it to the referee coordinator.
Part of being a field marshal is being visible at all times. Stroll your field to be seen in case anyone needs help. If you stop to watch your child’s game, be mindful of what is going on around you. Look out for player, coach and parent issues, confrontations and fighting. Be prepared to settle disputes with diplomacy; if that fails, contact local police or sheriffs as indicated in the tournament binder.
Assist by getting ice for injured players and find the field officer if the injury is serious; remind the coach to complete an accident form. Check that goals are staked correctly and not tipped over. If you witness a serious incident, complete a serious incident report and give it to a tournament board member, head field marshal or field director as indicated by your binder.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.