||| Matimix | Dreamstime.com |||
A male junior high school student didn’t make the cut for his school’s soccer team in Missouri. His mom wouldn’t have it, going to battle to make sure her son gets to play by filing a federal case against the school.
The unidentified boy is a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, located at the most affluent section of St. Louis. His mom claimed in the suit that the coach discriminated against her son. The suit further argued that since the boy played on the junior varsity team last year, then he’s good enough to play again this school year.
Court papers reveal that the coach, Dave Aronberg, tried to defend his decision for the boy’s non-inclusion in the team, with an email explanation. The email read in part: “(He) was right on the bubble of making the team this year and has some impressive attributes. However, there were few holes in his game including technical ability and game decision making that put him behind a number of kids.
The family in the suit argued that both age and sex discrimination are at play with the school’s decision over the snub on their son. They particularly cited that the same rules applied to the boys' team do not apply to the girls' team.
The family lawyer said: “Female juniors get to play on the female junior varsity team, but male juniors don’t get to play on the male junior varsity or J.V..”
The school is contending, however, that players who failed to make it to the varsity team cannot simply go back to J.V., because they want to give younger students a chance to develop their skills, too, by having the slots in the team.
The coach also claimed in a courtroom testimony that seven juniors who were cut from the varsity team were deemed not good enough to play J.V. ball.
The family has another contention. They also specified in the suit that the junior varsity squad only has 18 active players, compared to the usual 25. That means, they say, that even if their boy wasn’t “good enough” to be a starter, he should still be in the team given the number of slots available.
The lawyer also cited player performance ratings from other coaches that show the boy being “better “ than some of the players who made varsity, ranking 19th of the 36 hopefuls.
The suit is pushing for the boy to be placed back on the J.V. team. A much-anticipated decision by both parties is scheduled to be announced on Monday.
It is not sure how the boy feels about the whole fiasco - if he agrees with his mom’s and family’s efforts to take the cudgels for him, or he’d rather quietly work on his soccer skills to make sure that when the next chance comes, he’ll be so good no team will ever reject him.