'Silent Weekend' rule challenges soccer parents to stay quiet on sidelines

Parents are holding signs up as a form of cheering, instead of using their voices on October 7, 2017. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

It was an unusual day for soccer parents, as they sat on the sidelines in silence.

The East Central Soccer District adapted the "Silent Weekend" rule from South Carolina after it realized heckling referees has gone too far.

"The referee ages are between 12, 13, and 14 and when you get a parent screaming at them constantly, it just deters them from being a referee down the road," East Central Soccer referee assigner, Mike Jones, told FOX 11.

President of Neenah Soccer Club, Marti Coan said, "parents get carried away. The language they use, the intensity of their voices. We want everybody to have fun and be safe."

Parents are only allowed to clap. If the rule is violated within the third warning, they can be kicked out. Some parents shared how they plan to restrain themselves.

"I guess I'll probably have to pace or walk away for a little bit," Jonathan Dickey said.

Kay Bahm said, "I brought posters to hand out to people."

Both parents and players believe there's good intentions from the Silent Weekend, but many disagree about the no cheering rule.

Bahm said, "I think it's an encouragement hearing people cheer."

Seven-year-old Isla Jones told FOX 11, "I just like how sometimes my parents cheer because sometimes it makes me have a better playing time."

Nine-year-old Mea Jones said the quiet atmosphere helped improve her performance.

"We were a little more focused, we can hear our coaches more and it was just different a little bit," Mea said.

The East Central Soccer organization have a meeting Monday to discuss if they want to continue this rule next spring.

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