TAKE 5 with US Youth Soccer's Donovan Eubank


Youth Sports Article TAKE 5 Good Sportsmanship

Youth Soccer Dononvan Eubank on good sportsmanship

There’s nothing like the elated feeling your children get after winning a game they’ve practiced for day and night. But that good feeling can quickly dissipate when faced with bad sportsmanship.

Youth sports are a great opportunity for kids to build self-esteem and learn the essentials of playing a game. But it’s also an opportunity for parents and coaches to teach the importance of good sportsmanship. While parents cheer for their kids on the sidelines, it’s also imperative for them to be positive role models and strong examples of what it means to be a good sport.

Our kids look to their role models, and when adults and athletes have a win-at-all-cost mentality, it can ruin the game and bring out the worst in everyone.

In this month’s TAKE 5 series, we sat down with some of the world’s top athletes and coaches to get their take on what good sportsmanship means to them.

Donovan Eubank

Donovan Eubank from Huron, TN started refereeing at 12 years old. He earned his Grade 7 badge when he turned 17. Being involved with soccer as a player and referee has guided Donovan’s behavior across all parts of his life.

1. What's the state of sportsmanship in soccer today?

Sportsmanship in soccer has steadily increased. The anti-racism campaign that began is Europe is making its way to U.S. clubs and teams which is helping players be more respectful of each other's cultures. Peter Walton's Respect program has also made a difference in the way players treat each other and the officials.

2. What specifically do you do to display good sportsmanship?

As a referee, I try to show compassion for players. I understand how the players feel on the field and I try to adjust my style to their game.  

3. During your refereeing career, what's one example of an opponent displaying good sportsmanship?

During an Under-17 game I was officiating in west Tennessee, a player had an amazing shot on goal that was saved by the keeper of the defending team. After the play, both players congratulated each other on their skills. 

4. What can coaches do to promote good sportsmanship?

Coaches can teach their players sportsmanship by leading by example.  Respect for opposing teams, coaches, and fans can be seen rather than taught. That is something that all coaches should strive to demonstrate to their players. 

5. What is the number one thing athletes in soccer could do to improve sportsmanship in our sport?

Focus on the good of the game.

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.

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