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Soccer league back after stopping play over boy on girls' team

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In all the excitement over the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, I’m a little late with this update: The Port Angeles (Wash.) Youth Soccer Club under-14 girls league is back!

As you may or may not recall, the club dropped its under-14 boys spring league because not enough young males were signed up to make a viable league. The parents of Spencer May were not deterred, plopping their boy on a girls’ team until the league objected. The parents then apparently threatened to sue, claiming discrimination under Title IX (a law designed to get girls’ participation in sports up from near zero), and the club suspended the league until it could figure out what to do without getting litigated out of existence.

Here’s what the club figured out: it could tell Spencer May’s family to go pound sand. From the club’s web site:

“The Port Angeles Youth Soccer Club has resumed its Spring league after a two-week postponement. Following a careful review of all of the circumstances leading up to the suspension of play, the Club is reassured that it has not acted unlawfully or in a discriminatory manner in declining to offer co-ed play among older age groups and in refusing to allow a boy to play on an all girls team.”

Two weeks’ worth of Port Angeles youth soccer highlights (above).

Accordign to the Peninsula Daily News, the league also sent a separate notice to May’s parents, Andrew May and Carmen Czachor. From the March 30 edition:

At the same time, [club president Darin] Reidel sent a 15-sentence e-mail message to May and Czachor telling them of the club’s decision and the grievance procedures required of them if they had further concerns.

The parents are required to write to the club of their complaint, and the organization will forward their statement to the Olympic Youth Soccer Association, the state organization governing the sport.

“Your concerns will receive a timely review and response,” Reidel wrote in the e-mail.

Reidel probably wrote that because he was legally enjoined from writing, “Go fuck yourself.” More from the article:

The president also advised the couple not to attend any U14 girls practices and not to disrupt any Port Angeles Youth Soccer Club games.

Andrew May (who writes a gardening column for the Peninsula Daily News) and Carmen Czachor wouldn’t do that, would they? Even though in the article they are quoted as saying even though they technically never threatened to sue, they’re planning on taking their complaints to city and state officials? Really, the May parents will just do something reasonable, like accept that sometimes a league doesn’t fill up, and sign up Spencer in a league in a nearby city. Right?

The answer came in the March 31 Peninsula Daily News:

Call it the hunt for the missing girls soccer team.

Soccer parents Andrew May and Carmen Czachor split up in different cars during a rainy and cool Tuesday afternoon looking for an under-14 girls soccer team that was supposed to start practice at 4:30 p.m.

May and Czachor’s 13-year-old son, Spencer, had practiced with the girls’ team about three times and wanted to play for the group.

The team had practiced at Stevens Middle School, where Spencer is an eighth-grader.

But the squad was no where in sight at 4:30 p.m., and so the parents split up looking for it, assuming the team was practicing in secret.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. The parents split up on a hunt for a girls’ soccer practice to crash? It turns out the scheduled practice was postponed, and that Spencer May’s parents were told the league might start an “academy soccer” program — basically, practice. (The article said the league offered that option, then pulled it before offering the family a refund it refused.) That is, as long as enough boys sign up. So May and Czachor said they will graciously back off to see if that academy soccer thing happens.

Spencer, let me pull you aside for a minute. Whatever you end up doing this spring, your parents have taught you a not-very-valuable lesson: if you don’t get your way, just scream and yell and pitch a fit. Let me ask you, Spencer: did you get away with that kind of behavior as a toddler? Or worse yet, are they doing this because you’re the one kicking and screaming about not being able to play spring soccer in Port Angeles?

Spencer, I don’t know why Port Angeles split its formerly coed under-14 league into separate boys and girls, but it did, and the fact not enough boys signed up means not that the club is discriminating against you, but that not enough boys and their families care. The junior high coed basketball league my 12-year-old played in last year didn’t play this year because not enough kids signed up. I guess I should have made a big stink, if I were a good parent. True, it wasn’t like the girls played while the boys didn’t, but I also once tried to sign up that same son for a boys’ volleyball league that ended up not getting enough boys while a girls’ league played on. It happens.

There are true injustices in the world to raise a stink about, but a league being canceled because not enough kids were signed up is not one of them.

So, please, tell your parents to back off. I’d tell them myself, but I get the feeling they don’t listen to others’ advice.

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