Player safety--ultimately, it was fine. The problem with the refs were that they were just very casual. Although, in our league, it's volunteer coaches, the refs get paid! But, one was clearly a high schooler, and the other wasn't much older. The usual referee is probably in his early fifties, and the other one is at least in his twenties. So when I saw how young they were, I wasn't too surprised by the lack of hustle on the part of last week's refs. It usually goes that way with the soccer referees too. That said, even the parents on the other team were telling the refs their own players were out of bounds.
Lazy player--Something has happened with him... He was at practice 30 minutes early (brought by his great uncle), and he was a whole different kid. And since he was there so early, I got to do a lot of one on one time with him. He's still not the best player, but he's actually trying really hard now. I suspect that his uncle is trying to take more of an interest (he seems much more positive--doesn't tear him down the way the mom does), and that has helped a lot.
Problem player--The problem player...I can't quite figure him out. He has apparently played soccer since he was two, and is really great at it (per the parents). However, he wanted to switch to football at the last second, so they did. His dad is really easy going (played football in high school apparently), I'm not sure what's up with Mom. When Dad is there, he's basically fine, but the last two practices, mom brought him, and he starts out refusing to practice, and she makes a big scene with him, and then he sulks through everything (making it difficult for me), so when it comes game time, he doesn't really understand how the plays work, he botches the hand-offs, tries to take the ball when it isn't his turn, etc. My best guess is that he has probably always been the best player on his soccer team, and is used to just taking the ball and doing everything, and can't figure out why he can't do that here. But I don't know. Generally, I don't like to reward bad behavior, but I played him a lot more than usual in this last game in hopes of integrating him into the team a little better. I will find out in practice this afternoon if it actually worked.
Next game--You're absolutely right. Getting cocky is a bad idea! I guess I should put it this way--I feel confident that we will have a better game this time, as the first time we played them, 6 of the 9 players had never played football and had little to no idea what to do in a game.
As always, any and all advice is appreciated!