Originally Posted by lurkingknight
I've played with a lot of underaged players locally, mostly 15-17. I don't have a problem with any of them. They play hard and well with good sportsmanship and good conduct. There is an agreement with field owners that someone is responsible for the minor in some aspect, a ride home, a person who can contact the parents (if not the field owner themselves) and the parents are never too far away.
We had a kid... I think 14 get a tooth shot out. All the adults were calling no duff, sky is falling, etc... kid's only response was "I just want to go respawn" Even his parents weren't all that concerned when they were called. They showed up, they asked him if he wanted to keep playing or not, he was on the fence and looked to their guidance on what he should do. I think they ended up just going to the dentist and that was that. We saw him on the field again a few weeks later.
I have to agree though <12 is probably a bit young to be unsupervised.
In this case, it was lucky that 'cool' parents were involved in the aftermath of that injury. It could very easily have gone the other way, as has been seen in other activities and hobbies.
The "Suzie Soccer-mom" factor is the great unknown, and the most troublesome. Precious little Johnny gets injured, and all of a sudden everyone but the absentee parent is to blame for lax supervision that resulted in the injury. Threats get made, and a land-shark lawyer gets involved, and the potential is definitely there for people to start losing their shirts over it, or at least deal with a whole lot of aggravation and inconvenience before it's over.
The civil liability climate in Ontario has changed a bit in the past few years, so that plaintiff's can't simply say that they "didn't read that" when they signed a waiver, but where money and the potential of civil liability is involved, you better have legal representation built into your overhead costs, just in case. Ontario is chock-full of "Suzie Soccer-mom's", unfortunately.