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An Update On That Coach Who Forced A 12-Year-Old Girls Soccer Team To Tank In A Game – Yeah, The News Is Not Good

minnesota-thunder

Photo courtesy of coach Mark Abboud via Star Tribune

Yeah, things haven’t worked out so well for youth soccer coach Mark Abboud. As some of you may recall, a couple of weeks ago there was a story on this here blog detailing how Mark Abboud forced his team of 12-year-old girls, after playing their hearts out to a 1-1- tie, to not technically compete in a shootout with an older and more talented team, so in his mind, the better squad would move on to the state tournament. (If you haven’t read the post, it’s right here).

No surprise here, but things did not go how Abboud intended them to and yesterday, the first of what may be several hammers was dropped on poor Mark Abboud’s head.

In another great article by Star Tribune columnist John Tevlin, he followed up on the story and reported that Abboud has been barred from coaching in the state youth championships this year and the next. But that’s not the worst part – both teams were disqualified from further play, even though, at least according to Abboud’s statements regarding the incident, the coach for the other team, Andy Kaasa, had no previous knowledge of what Abboud was doing:

[Minnesota Thunder Academy President Barry] Neal said Abboud denied that Kaasa participated in a plan to rig the outcome, and in an e-mail, Abboud defended his colleague: “The assumption [of MYSA] was that the U13 coach was ‘in on it’ which he most assuredly was not,” Abboud wrote.

Too bad for Coach Kaasa – despite Abboud’s statements in his defense, he received the same punishment as Abboud did.

That ain’t right, man. So, not only were a bunch of 12 and 13-year-old girls being punished for one man’s well-intentioned but idiotic actions, so was the opposing coach? How can that even be considered appropriate?

Candace Daley, executive director of the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, which investigated the incident, said a game official said he overheard the coaches discuss “throwing the game” during a break. Daley has been around youth soccer for more than 20 years and “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s very unfortunate.”

The majority of the parents of Thunder players still probably support Abboud, Daley admitted, but the MYSA represents 140 clubs and 80,000 players and reaction from them is “by far very supportive of the action we’ve taken.”

But how is that fair to the girls on both teams? On one hand, the girls on the 12-year-old team were only doing what their coach told them to do and the other team of 13-year-old girls had no previous knowledge of what ultimately transpired on the field. Said Daley:

“[Y]oung people are dependent on the unfortunate actions of adults every day.”

I see. I guess it all makes sense now. In a way, the young ladies on these two soccer teams are now being treated like they are the crack babies of the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association.

Fair enough. I guess.

Competition. Integrity. And a very hard lesson [Star Tribune]