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Youth Soccer Coach Called Out For Purposely ‘Humiliating’ Star Player In Attempt To Humble Him

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Redditor amiabadteacher is a soccer coach at a high school who claimed to want to be an inspiring role model for kids pursuing the sport.

But his aspirations backfired with the manner in which he dealt with a problematic star player on the team he was coaching.

After receiving complaints from parents, he visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for humiliating one of the athletes I coach?

The Original Poster (OP) wrote:

“I’m a teacher and a youth soccer coach for my local high school.”

“I played as a goalkeeper for my college team, but never made it too far in the soccer world. These days, I just want to inspire young kids to pursue this sport.”

“One of the best players on my team is a 14-year old kid named Todd, who’s 6 foot 2, extremely strong, and has scored over 10 goals this season (and we’ve only played 4 games so far).”

“Because of this, and the fact that he’s quite a bit more developed than his peers, he’s developed a huge ego.”

“I am spoken to him several times about how he needs to be respectful of his teammates, but he seems to just brush it off.”

“Last week during training, Todd was able to outmaneuver our team’s goalkeeper, score a goal in a disrespectful manner (after he got past the keeper, he did a ballerina twirl before kicking the ball into the net), and then called him a ‘loser.'”

“Instead of berating him, I decided to teach him a lesson, and told him that since he’s been doing so well, he should practice doing penalty kicks with me, and I told the rest of the team that they should watch and could ‘learn a thing or two from Todd.'”

“I’m nowhere near a professional goalkeeper, but I still competed at a pretty high level. I was able to stop every single one of Todd’s shots.”

“After around 15 penalty kicks, Todd’s nerves and frustration started getting to him, and his next shots started missing the net entirely.”

“I stopped the session soon afterwards and walked to him, and said, ‘By your definition, I guess that makes you a loser huh? Like I said before, you need to be respectful and not have such a huge ego.'”

“Todd was holding back tears and stormed out of the training session. Later I got complaints from his parents, as well as the school administration that I ‘humiliated’ him, and that my ‘demonstration’ crushed his confidence.”

“This became apparent in the next game we played where he performed quite poorly.”

“Personally I think I taught him a valuable lesson, in that it’s important to always be respectful, as there’s always bigger fish in the sea.”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

While Todd’s arrogance on the field left little to be desired, a lot of Redditors did not agree with the OP’s disciplinary action towards the 14-year-old star player.

“You didnt have to call him a loser- no leader should ever stoop to that level, especially when you’re an adult and these are kids.”

“If he needs to learn respect, you could try benching him a bit until he learns that everyone is a team. I agree that his ego needs to be checked I just don’t think insulting him like that was the way to do it.” – LaikasLastStand

“ESH. I think you need to take him aside and tell him he is a brilliant player and how proud you are of him but he has to remember it’s a team sport and while he is good there will always be someone who will be better on the day.”

“Put back in his confidence let him know you have his best interests at heart. He’s 14 he’s going to be a little monster at times but he’s 14 and it’s not the World Cup!” – Slow_Owl

“The problem with teaching someone a lesson like this is that you can’t be sure what lesson they’ll actually learn.”

“You humiliated him in front of his peers. Maybe he’ll be humbled and become a better person. Maybe he’ll become even more brittle and thin skinned. Maybe he’ll withdraw entirely.”

“On one hand, I like the sense of justice in how you handled this. On the other, I think you could have done better.”

“For a brief period, he’s larger, faster and better than his peers. But he’s also 14 so that’s going to last maybe a year before he’s surrounded by teenagers who have caught up with or surpassed him, and playing against older teens who make him look like the child he is.”

“His ego and attitude at this stage will be remembered.”

‘I think I taught him a valuable lesson, in that it’s important to always be disrespectful, as there’s always bigger fish in the sea.’

“I agree. But that isn’t the only lesson. There may be other fish in the sea, but he’s also playing a team sport. Even if he’s the star player, he needs his teammates, even if they aren’t bigger fish.”

“Shutting down every goal attempt did a good job of reminding him that he isn’t all that. But your words afterwards were cutting, not instructive. He may not learn the lesson you intended to teach. He may simply hate you.”

“YTA.” – GrumpyGuss

“YTA. For every reason listed above and one more: you didn’t do this to him when he was alone. You just taught your entire team that you are willing to put them in the spotlight to humiliate them.”

“This group of FOURTEEN year olds stood around and watched an ADULT belittle and embarrass a fellow student because he was on an ego trip.”

“So what lesson did you really teach?” – FrostedAngelinTheSky

“YTA. Teaching through humiliation is the best way to demonstrate that you shouldn’t be in charge of children. Congratulations, you’re a ‘bigger fish’ than a 14-year-old.”

“I’m sure your power trip inspired him to respect you and his teammates more now, rather than just resent everyone involved in that situation.” – bethfromHR

Overall, Redditors thought humiliating Todd in front of his teammates was not the right tactic for teaching a lesson.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1