Overbearing parents have been a staple of youth sports for as long as such leagues have been around, but the topic has been thrust back into the limelight in the wake of the dynamic that emerged at the 2022 World Cup between U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter and the family of U.S. forward Giovanni Reyna.
John Hackworth, the director of coaching with MLS expansion side St. Louis City SC, remembers an incident when a parent of a player on his youth team went ballistic because their child did not start in a game. This behavior is not unique to Hackworth as similar situations have been encountered by other youth coaches and sports leaders.
The topic of overbearing parents in youth sports has been brought to the forefront with the recent incident between U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter and the family of U.S. forward Giovanni Reyna.
The Reyna family’s involvement in their son’s playing time led to a disintegration of their relationship with Berhalter and an investigation by the USSF.
This behavior is not unique to American culture as similar examples can be found in other countries and sports. Jason Sacks, President of the Positive Coaching Alliance, states that if you talk to coaches and organizational leaders, they will say that parents are their biggest issue.
The situation between Berhalter and Reyna is complex and has been covered in depth by ESPN’s US Soccer correspondent.
As of now, more information is still emerging, and I recommend reading the full story for more details.