my 5 year old has started playing soccer this year. He has really been enjoying it. However we have had a few issues with one of his teammates the past week. His team mate to me is a bit of a niggler. He takes other kids balls and kicks them away at training and has pushed a couple of kids over in matches. Last week when training before the game he took my sons ball. My son stood up for himself and chased him. The other boy grabbed my son and threw him around til he fell to the ground. He did it again later after calling him a baby and my son said he was the baby. We split the boys up when the game was on so it was all sorted.
However the next training session he yelled in my sons face because my son stood in the goals (which is not encouraged). Then they were both going for the ball and fell over. He stood up while my son was still on the ground and kicked him in the head 3 times. I yelled and ran over and the coach thankfully pulled the other boy away. His parents didn't see it but another parent did. He was not allowed to play this week as punishment from his parents. My husband and I decided (after advise from friends also) that we needed to make an official complaint and report to the club. There is some debate over what is age appropriate discipline/punishment. The incident is still raw for me and at the time we wanted him removed from the team. He is actually 6 playing with 5's because most are his schoolmates. I feel the need obviously to protect my son. Personally I believe that any kid who reacts in this way has issues and needs counselling, 6 or older. I have heard he was involved in a big fight with another boy at his school. Thankfully my son is not at the same school.
I'm interested to hear what others think would be an age appropriate way for this to be dealt with.