Dec 21, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT
The youth soccer organization in question is backtracking, saying it “was all a misunderstanding,” but a Cooper City, FL coach is saying that he was ejected from a game by referees because he yelled instructions to his team in Spanish. Officials for the Optimist Club league confirm this, but said they had no rule banning players or coaches from speaking in a foreign language during games.
But ejected coach Ruben Albarracin said he was sanctioned for talking in Spanish to his players about tactics, as he usually does.
“I had never felt discriminated before,” said Albarracin, the coach of Dallas FC, whose 12 players range from 14 to 18, and are mostly immigrants or the children of immigrants from Latin America, where soccer is a national sport.
Albarracin’s assistant coach Carlos Perez said, “We were told there was a new rule that we could not speak Spanish. We told the referees that we wanted to see that rule in writing and that’s when things got ugly.” Perez witnessed the incident but, unlike Albarracin, was not sanctioned.
Respect my authori-tay!
According to the Sun Sentinel, the league had an incident last year in which a coach speaking in Hebrew told some of his players to break the legs of a rival team during a game. Yikes. So the president of the league then told coaches to “be careful” about talking to players in a language that can’t be understood by everyone.
But it’s vague edicts like that one that cause more problems than they fix. Anyway, I’m shocked that this happened in Florida, where usually only sensible things happen.
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