Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cash bonuses for five-year-old soccer players

Thanks to Nicole LaVoi for passing along an article on this improbable topic: pay-for-play soccer. The author, Daniel Frankl, Professor School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at California State University, cites an email he received last October.

"In essence, the writer whose “children have all played soccer and are now all grown,” reported observing soccer parents and other family members “doling out cash…$5.00 to $10.00” as a payoff for scoring a goal. As inappropriate and inexcusable as such behavior is, the writer was further appalled by the fact that the act involved players “5 to 7 years old!”

I can see this being wildly popular among five year olds, particularly those with expensive video-game habits and Swiss bank accounts. I have to agree with Dr. Frankl, though, that tipping soccer kids does little to promote values such as sportsmanship and teamwork.

Dr. Frankl writes: "The practice...amounts to senseless bribery that is bound to result in long-term harm to a child’s intrinsic motivation. Handing out cash while the game is still in progress, on the other hand, amounts to outrageously inappropriate conduct by very irresponsible and misguided adults."

Is this just one crazy league?

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