Youth Soccer Coach Gets Dismissed for Speaking Spanish to Players

Dec 21, 2012
12:28 PM

¿Qué qué? What? In one of the most culturally ignorant stories we have seen this week (h/t to @joeltana, a story out of Cooper City, FL chronicles how “a volunteer soccer coach for a city-sponsored youth league was ejected from a game after two referees ordered him to stop giving instructions in Spanish to several Hispanic players during a match.”

The article tells how coach Ruben Albarracín of the Dallas FC club, which is part of a city-sponsored league, is claiming that it was all because he spoke Spanish.


Here is what the article reported:

“I had never felt discriminated before,” said Albarracín, 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.

Albarracín’s assistant coach Carlos Pérez 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.

The Optimist Club, which oversees the league, also commented on the incident:

Optimist Club board member Geri Kelly said, “During a meeting, we asked coaches to be careful and, for the benefit of the majority, speak in a language that everyone understands. We have no rule [against speaking Spanish]. How could this be a rule?”

“This is a youth recreational program, with players of different races and nationalities, and we want all the players to enjoy the benefit of the instructions offered by their coaches,” she added. “We want everybody to understand.”

The story then concludes with this:

Jorge Pujol, whose son Alex plays for Dallas FC, said he doesn’t understand why coaches or players would be discouraged from speaking their native language during a game.

“Soccer is an international game. I don’t understand how a coach can be prohibited from speaking in Spanish to a player,” Pujol said. “It’s not right.”

Albarracín and Pérez said referees have also tried to discourage players from speaking among themselves in Spanish.

Optimist Club leaders say this isn’t true; they say they have told coaches to be careful after an incident last year when a coach speaking in Hebrew told some of his players to break the legs of a rival team during a game.

Huh? All we can say is #NoMames.