Multilingual Jaspers Avoid Penalties with Creative Curses

By Caroline McCarthy, Senior Writer

Passion and communication on the field are essential for any successful soccer team. However, overly passionate players communicating by using inappropriate language might just be what tears the Manhattan College men’s soccer team apart this season. 

The Manhattan College men’s soccer team consistently sits at the top of the list for the most red cards in a single season. In 2022, the Jaspers had four red cards and 49 yellow cards. In 2022, head coach Jorden Scott made it a point to his players that swearing would not be tolerated on the field, they still earned four red cards and 41 yellow cards. 

Brandon Joseph-Buadi, a graduate of Manhattan College and senior on the 2021 team, held two of the cards that season.

The issue, according to Coach Jorden Scott, is many of the team’s international players are unaccustomed to American referees being strict against the use of profanities. All three players who received penalties in 2021 are international players. Joseph-Buadi originally played in England, while Bounab and Kuntz both played in France prior to their time at Manhattan College. 

“I feel like where we’re from, especially the European players, the way we react and deal with things is by letting out our frustration,” said Joseph-Buadi. “It’s very normal in European countries to say the odd curse word but [in the US] it is frowned upon to say anything and you get punished for it. It is something that really does take getting used to and is difficult to adjust to.”

This, according to Scott, is why Manhattan College tied for 5th in the NCAA for the most red cards issued in 2021. The following year, they tied for third, however, none of the cards issued were for foul language – only foul play. 

During the 2021 season, three of Manhattan College’s four red cards were issued in the same 15 minutes playing against Temple University. The Jaspers’ emotions ran hot during the match when they fell behind after the 11th minute. Manhattan was desperate to stay in the competition. In the 39th minute, Manhattan player Johan Velez scored his first goal of the season. The intensity of the tied game only worsened the Jaspers’ frustration and profanity, which enraged the unnamed referee.

“I think he had enough of us shouting and letting out our frustration so simply sent us off the field,” Joseph-Buadi said. “I think he had a difficult game and knew he was struggling with some bad decisions so us players being on top of him and not letting him forget caused him to send us off the field.”

MAAC Standards state that the conference “requires the highest ethical conduct by all institutional personnel and demands the highest commitment to integrity, ethical behavior, and fair play in all athletic endeavors.” It continues to say the use of “profanity or provocative language or action toward an official” is highly inappropriate and prohibited by the conference. 

“We’re in an environment that is completely education-based,” said Scott. “It’s about teaching. It’s about learning. It’s about making mistakes and learning from it.”

The referee did not issue any warning about swearing resulting in a red card, Scott said. At one point, a Manhattan player swore at a regular volume while speaking with his coach near the sideline, and the referee ran over to them to issue a card. This, Scott said, is unacceptable. Manhattan College has filed a complaint against this referee and is awaiting an investigation into the game. 

Coach Scott recommended an interesting technique to avoid future penalties. He’s instructed all of his players to express explicit emotions in different languages so that American referees are less likely to understand. 

“When you go to Europe, and you watch players play at the youth level in the professional level, you will see and I was one of them, players and referees who swear at each other in a social fashion,” Scott said. “We’ve even encouraged our international guys to speak if they don’t speak in English, obviously, to swear in their own language.”