Soccer as a world game is not only a favourite sport for many Chinese Canadians, but also makes for a great extra-curricular sport for their children. Enrolment in a youth soccer league can be a perfect launchpad for Canadian youth who set their sights on professional leagues. But after a pair of Chinese parent spent $1600 to put his son in a soccer club, the father and son faced setbacks and frustrations.
In May 2015, Dennis’ son who used to play on a recreational soccer team, passed a try-out and made it onto a rep. team in a youth soccer league. The upgrade made Dennis delighted, who quickly wrote a cheque of $1600 to have his son Jimmy enrolled.
But to Dennis’ surprise, Jimmy wasn’t quite happy with the new team. Jimmy felt that as a new player, he wasn’t very welcome or treated fairly by the coach. As Dennis watched his son’s first game, he found that Jimmy was benched for 90 minutes – almost the entire game. Contrary to Dennis expectations, the new soccer team didn’t bring the expected benefits to his son, but instead, affected him in a negative way. Dennis noticed that his son lost appetite, became sad and was on the verge of depression. Dennis took the issue with the club and filed a complaint against the coach.
But Dennis said after he filed the complaint, his son received a text message from the coach the next day, telling him that he was “released” from the team, citing reasons that he arrived “only 5 minutes before the game”, instead of “the required 30 minutes”. It also accused his son missing “a lot of continuous practices.”
Dennis denies the accusation, saying that all the missed sessions, except one, were before his son formally joined the team. Dennis believes that kicking his son out of the team was the coach’s revenge to his complaint.
According to the club rule, a player who was cut from the team is entitled to a full refund less a $50 administration fee. But when Dennis requested for refund, he was offered only less than a quarter of it: $345.
Bob, the general manager of the club believed that Jimmy’s leaving was a voluntary departure. He said that he was entitled to no refund under the club rules, but the club did him a favour by making an exception. But Dennis doesn’t buy that. As his son was released by the coach and cut by the team, he is entitled to a refund of $1550, rather than $345.
Dennis complains that the club broke the rules, alleging it was seeking excuses to evade the responsibilities to offer a full refund, after kicking his son out of the team.
Manager: “I offered him a recreational team”
Dennis accusation seems not unsubstantiated. When Chinese News asked Bob, the general manager, why the coach sent Jimmy to the bench for 90 minutes, he said that “for a rookie to “not to play the whole game”.
“He came from a recreational environment where the time was balanced. He chose to go on a more competitive team, but he has never been on that environment before. He didn’t like it nor did his dad. “
But Jimmy did pass the tryout. In the end it was the club that took the registration fee and made the decision to recruit Jimmy. If it isn’t unusual to push a new player to the sidelines during the first few games, the coach may have a responsibility to help rookie player like Jimmy to develop game-required skills, and to create a plan that will gradually extend their play time.
But after asked whether Jimmy will be given more game time in future, Bob said he offered him to sign up into “the recreational league, where he could play in a “more relaxed environment”, and is more comparable to what he was used to.
Apparently, the manager had made his judgement on Jimmy. He believed that Jimmy lacked both the skills and the potential to play for a competitive team. He cut Jimmy by offering him to join the recreational team. But if Jimmy wasn’t good enough, why did the club recruit him in the first place, after a try-out and $1600 registration fee?
But the questions raised by Chinese News hit a stonewall. “I am not preparing to answer any questions from you,” said Bob in a phone call before he hung up. In a response to Chinese News’ repeated questions and Dennis repeated requests for full refund, he wrote in an email: “a refund of ($345) has been offered to Dennis... This ends my discussion on the subject.”
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