Submitted by Dep Easton, playing at the Delaware Premier Soccer League (DPSL)
Our team played the all women’s league until June 26th, 2011. On this date, Easton played in a semi-final game against BB United where the teams, after extra time and penalty kicks, continued to be tied.
The last penalty kick was from BB United, and if the ball had entered the net, they would have won the game. The player kicked the ball and missed, hitting the ball just outside of the goal. For some reason, the team started to celebrate as if they had made the goal, confusing everyone. Due to this confusion, the spectators started protesting. Unfortunately, at this point, a fight broke out among the spectators. Someone had lifted the net and put the ball inside the goal and trying to pass it off as a goal.
President de Leon, spoke to the coach for the Easton soccer team, Eliud Reyes, with Referee Migual present, telling him that it had not been a goal, that he, President de Leon, and the Board of Directors of the league would have a meeting the next day, June 27th, to decide when both teams would play again, and whether they would play for penalty kicks or extra time. (Never during this meeting did President de Leon mention that the referee had whistled in favor of BB United.)
Coach Reyes gave his personal cell number to President de Leon, waiting all week for the league president to personally contact him, but neither the president, nor any member of the Board of Directors, directly contacted him.
The coach called Mr. de Leon Friday evening, July 1st, 2011, to ask if a decision had been made, and on what date would the team have the opportunity for a rematch. During this conversation, President de Leon told the coach the board had reached a decision during a meeting comprised of the board, Referee Migual, and a representative of BB United, Secretary Rosa, to award the win to BB United due to the Referee Migual whistling immediately after the penalty kick, which missed kick was witnessed by more than 200 spectators and captured on tape.
The ONLY time the referee whistled was to gain both the attention of the opponents, who were in the throes of celebration, and the spectators, who were violent opposition to inform them that the penalty kick did not count as a goal and that the game was concluded due to the field becoming dark and the crowd being out of control. This resulted in a tied game.
President de Leon informed Coach Reyes that a gentleman named Rudy had been notified of the decision. Coach Reyes informed President de Leon that Rudy has no affiliation to our team, is simply a fan; he was NOT a part of the impromptu meeting during the faux celebration/violent outburst of spectators, and he could not understand why the president called this random person to advise the Easton team of such an important decision.
After Coach Reyes made his position very clear to President de Leon, stating his belief that it was board’s responsibility to notify him personally of their decision. Coach Reyes was adamant that he viewed it as unethical behavior for the board to make a decision without a representative from the Easton team being present, especially as Rosa, who is Secretary of the Board of Directors, a player on BB United’s team, a mother of a player for BB United, and the sister of the head coach of BB United was present.
After this was brought to the board’s attention, once again President de Leon, and Orlando (board position unknown), informed Coach Reyes they would have another meeting.
On Saturday evening, July 2nd, 2011, 2 pm, Coach Reyes received a call from Orlando, representing himself as someone speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, and who Coach Reyes knew to be a person of authority, informing him, the coach, that the board had another meeting and that his team would have to show up at the field at 6pm that evening to play the game.
Coach Reyes then told Orlando to inform the Board of Directors that what they were asking of him was something next to impossible due to the fact that most of the women were either at work, away for the long 4th of July holiday weekend, or were entertaining company at their homes. Another important obstacle was the fact that all of the women lived an hour to an hour and a-half away from the playing field in Georgetown, Delaware. The coach advised Orlando he believed the responsibility to notify both teams to be able to get their respective teams together within a reasonable period of time, not a matter of a few hours, lay on the Board of Directors shoulders. (Reminding you that Rosa is a board member and, as such, in a decision-making position)
Orlando agreed as to the unreasonable time frame, and asked the coach when the best time for Easton would be. Coach Reyes suggested Sunday, July 3rd. Orlando agreed and said that a member of the Easton team had to show up for a meeting at the field to officially notify the Board of Directors of the team’s decision to play Sunday, July 3rd, at 6pm.
To our surprise, as the team’s representatives arrived at the field, the team from BB United was present on the field, with a referee, ready to play. As the Easton’s representatives approached the field, their first action was to ask President de Leon, and Orlando what was transpiring.
President de Leon, very angry and hostile, stated that the Easton team had to show up for a game. At that time the referee whistled in favor of BB United.
I am very sure that Rosa, Secretary of the Board of Directors, knew about this decision. The President, through his representative, Orlando, misled our team. The directors and board members could not agree about the decision that was made among themselves, and told our representatives, once again, the board would have another meeting.
Early the next morning, at 7 am, President de Leon called Coach Reyes - in a very unfriendly manner, failing to identify himself – informed Reyes that because Easton’s team did not appear as instructed, they forfeited the game and the win would be in favor of BB United, and therefore advancing BB United to the finals.
Please keep in mind that all of these meetings occurred without a representative of Easton’s team being present, but BB United always had the representation of Secretary Rosa.
Easton was astounded by the lack of responsibility, ethics, honesty, and business acumen of the Delaware Premier Soccer League in Georgetown, DE, and subsequently requested a meeting with the members of the Board of Directors, to include our Easton soccer team and the opponent, BB United.
They agreed and called us to meet on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, at 6 pm. The board and directors notified us to meet with them at Bethel Methodist church, and that Pastor Rene of that congregation, who is affiliated with the Board, would be present. During the meeting, where the Pastor was in search of a solution, our team presented facts and opinions of all that had previously occurred.
President de Leon defended his position, saying he notified Rudy of all the decisions made. Once again, Rudy is simply a fan, not someone in authority, not someone that the coach would have any interaction or communication with. After spending almost an hour debating and defending our position, the Vice President, Ruben Hernandez, closed the meeting, stating, “We have heard both sides of each team, and my decision is that on Sunday, July 10th, at 6pm, the teams will play again for extra time, and if there is a tie, then they will go to penalties. It is what is fair for both teams. Meeting closed!”
He said this in front of everyone present, the board members, both teams’ representatives, and Pastor Rene. At this time, Secretary Rosa stood up in disagreement, along with her sister, BB United’s head coach, and yelled out to the Easton team, “You can have the game and go play in the finals! Now you guys are happy!”
Members from the Easton team related that we only wanted to be fair. We made it very clear to both of them that Easton wanted to play them, that we were not after them as a team, but we wanted the directors of the league to take responsibility for their error, lack of organization, and unethical behavior. At this time, both of the women were too angry to listen.
The Easton team drove back home, feeling a fair and just decision was made, both teams playing to decide the winner on the field. Easton soccer is a team made up of women that love the sport, and have made huge sacrifices to be able to play. We respect authority and summit to regulations and rules, but what has happened to us is unethical, dishonest, and humiliating.
On Friday, July 8th, Coach Reyes got a faxed letter from the directors of the league stating that, after the meeting held on Wednesday, July 6th, they met once again and made the decision to officially eliminate our team due to our not showing up for a game on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011.
The team from Easton is paralyzed by the audacity of the board’s actions. We were told in the letter that the decision at the meeting from the Vice-President would not count, “Because you tried to illegally intimidate the director members.” It is our belief that those are very harsh and unwise words, especially in light of the fact that there were six members of the board present, five men and one woman, versus the 8 women of Easton’s team and Coach Reyes. A coach and team members seeking a favorable outcome don’t generally intimidated and pressure a board of directors, usually it is the other way around.
This morning, a representative of the Delaware Premier Soccer League was on Radio Maxima of Delaware, announcing that Easton’s Women’s Soccer team was given a second chance to play again for the semi-finals on Saturday, July 2nd, and that the team never showed up, not mentioning all the protests Easton's team have had with the Board of Directors based on that Saturday decision. Emails have been sent to the Radio Station outlining the team’s position. Also, many supporting Easton affiliates have called the radio station. We have not received any response.
The Easton’s Women’s Soccer team feels strongly that the league’s board of directors’ disparate treatment unfairly jeopardized their opportunity for a fair game. The board’s obvious favoritism toward BB United severely impacts Easton’s ability to receive a just and impartial decision. We feel we have been lied to and intentionally misled. President de Leon stated many times that, quote, “Everyone was beating on my back,” end quote. That statement leads Easton to believe that he was pressured by BB United to vote in their favor, evidenced by the fact that each and every time the result of each meeting was in favor of BB United.
We also feel that the Board of Directors should be organized enough to have the proper contact information and roster of each team. We have been personally humiliated by the behavior of this board, being spoken to aggressively and disrespectfully, and even being hung up on by President de Leon during a phone call. Additionally, we have been publicly humiliated by an announcement made by a league representative on the radio station.
In conclusion, the Easton’s Women’s Soccer team and its coach request a written apology from the board, as well as a public apology broadcast through the radio station by a league representative as to the board’s mishandling and misrepresentation of our team’s participation. We further request that the bylaws be rewritten to include language for the proper and ethical handling of this type of situation. Language also needs to be included in the bylaws specifying sufficient time parameters for when make-up game are to be scheduled.
Thank you for your attention,
Easton’s Women’s Soccer team
Coach Eliud Reyes Captain Stephanie Reyes