The Elite Players League (EPL) is set to kick off its 15th year and 30th season this spring. With the new season, the league will introduce 'Silent Sidelines.'
The new rules sets a zero tolerance for coaches or parents showing hostility towards the players or referees. Spectators will be directed to refrain from making any comments to players, coaches or referees, but will be permitted to applaud efforts by players. Coaches are instructed to coach their players and avoid remarks to referees. Just as the EPL is a developmental league for young players, it is also used as a developmental league for referees, especially young and those new to officiating.
"We wanted to keep the focus on creating a fun, learning environment for the kids to play," stated Scott Wheeler, League Commissioner. "Negativity towards referees creates an uncomfortable environment for everyone involved and takes away from the players."
Under the rule, any coach or parent yelling or outwardly questioning referee decisions is subject to immediate dismissal from the game and complex. Unwillingness to leave can be cause for the match to be terminated.
The goals of the Silent Sidelines are to:
1. Develop our players to make decisions on the field without sideline intervention.
2. Improve the players’ communication on the field by reducing the outside noise level.
3. Support our youth referees by eliminating dissension from the sidelines.
Signs will be located at the games to help remind everyone involved.
The ELITE PLAYERS LEAGUE has become the top player development friendly league in Cincinnati, attracting more than 110 teams in the U6-U10 age divisions for boys and girls. All matches are played at the Olberding Training Facility in West Chester, manicured weekly for all matches. This is by far, the top facility for players in these age groups in the area.