Soccer Association of Columbia the First Athletic Group to Say Yes to “CHOOSE SPORTSMANSHIP”

Howard County Library System (HCLS) will expand the reach of this year’s Civility in Sports message to thousands of players and parents thanks to a recent agreement by the Soccer Association of Columbia (SAC) to officially adopt HCLS’ Civility Statement.

“The commitment by SAC to spread our Civility in Sports message is a monumental step toward positively changing behavior in the fields and on the stands,” said Valerie Gross, HCLS President and CEO. “We are honored to be working with such a well-respected, athletic organization to make this a priority for Howard County.”

As a supporter of Choose Sportsmanship, a component of Choose Civility, SAC officials pledge that the organization will model and promote a doctrine of respect for others, their roles, and their knowledge and expertise. The expectations are for all SAC coaches, athletes, parents, and spectators to demonstrate and exemplify civil behavior during SAC events.

Tony Salazar, SAC President, notes, “Over the years, SAC has worked in many ways to promote the virtue of sportsmanship in soccer. There is a board position dedicated to this issue, our coaches are certified through the Positive Coaching Alliance Program, and we continuously relay the importance of good sportsmanship to our coaches, players and fans. Our Board is proud to be the first organization to adopt the Civility in Sports statement, and we look forward to partnering with HCLS to keep the spotlight focused on the importance of teaching and modeling good sportsmanship.”

As a Choose Sportsmanship organization, the set of values for SAC coaches, athletes, parents, and spectators include the following:

  • Creating an environment of respect for each other
  • Promoting a community tolerant of different opinions
  • Constructive conflict resolution
  • Fair and just treatment of others
  • Freedom from harassment
  • Fostering diversity and respecting diverse cultures
  • Sportsmanship

Officials at SAC plan to begin efforts in the spring by asking recreational coaches to designate one parent per team as a sportsmanship representative. These individuals will be identified at all games with bright green Choose Civility bracelets. The organization is also investigating ways to visibly promote the sportsmanship message on its fields. Plans for events designed specifically to help raise awareness for the initiative are also under consideration.

HCLS continues its focus on Civility in Sports with a number of upcoming events, including one featuring Terry McAulay, a top tier football official in the National Football League, on February 10.

Choose Civility is an ongoing community-wide initiative, led by Howard County Library System, to position Howard County as a model of civility. The project intends to enhance respect, empathy, consideration and tolerance in Howard County.

The Soccer Association of Columbia is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Its mission is to provide boys and girls from age 4 to 19 with both instructional and competitive youth soccer opportunities that will build character, enhance community, and promote an appreciation of the game of soccer. The vision also emphasizes the core values of self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and respect along with support for the inherent benefits that physical exercise brings.

To join Choose Sportsmanship, contact Kelli Shimabukuro at 410.313.7750 or by email.