I’m a parent of two soccer players who have played for seven years since 2012 and for 14 seasons. Every year, I’m told that it will get better.

It’s been seven years and it has not gotten better. In fact, it’s gotten worse. I teach my children to not bully others, to report bullying, and not to let others take advantage of them.

When I take them to their soccer games, I have to trust that the referees are there to keep our kids safe and not let them get hurt and bullied.

I end up watching the games, frustrated and upset because I watch them get pushed, tripped, kicked, elbowed, hit and knocked over. I know soccer is a contact sport, but these are fouls, and they should be called as fouls.

If the referees called the fouls and issued the yellow cards, the kids wouldn’t continue to do this malicious behavior and make these dangerous choices that harm our children.

If the kids see that the referees are not allowing this to happen and that they could be thrown out of the game or blocked from future games with the yellow and red cards, then the naughty kids would think twice and adjust their behavior. And coaches would do better jobs of guiding our kids and reminding our kids that this behavior is unacceptable in the Guam Football Association. GFA needs to step up and do its part to enforce fair play and safety as a priority instead of just providing lip service.

Melanie Blas is a resident of Dededo.

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