The following letter to the editor of the Fargo Forum was submitted on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 and published on May 19, 2008.
Dan Dunn's letter of April 30 misrepresents the truth of the motives and actions of both the Fargo Soccer Club and me, personally. For a refutation of the claims and assertions made by Mr. Dunn, people can read my response at www.fargosoccer.org - the website of the Fargo Soccer Club.
The kids and parents of the Fargo Soccer Club (FSC) just want to be treated fairly and with respect. There are 158 kids currently playing soccer in the FSC. Dunn's Red River Soccer Club refuses to let our 129 kindergarten players in to the Fargo-Moorhead-West-Fargo Soccer League (FMWFSL) this Fall. While we have more than enough players to host our own league, that is not the point. The point is one of non-discrimination and inclusion. We don't want soccer apartheid in Fargo. Everyone else plays in the FMWFSL.
Mr. Dunn has even warned, cautioned and intimidated the coaches of the RRSC in to not playing, scrimmaging or practicing with or against our second and third grade players; the Under-9 team we fielded in 2007. Meanwhile, these same FSC players played against both Moorhead and West Fargo teams in 2007. They played in Grand Forks, Jamestown, Detroit Lakes, Alexandria and Minneapolis. They played against Under-9 and Under-10 teams and finished 2007 with a 17-8-2 record while being the youngest and smallest team on the field for every one of their games. Their parents paid an average of $370 per player while the RRSC Under-10 team cost each family approximately $1270 per player.
The FSC Under-10 boys team was but one of 3 teams that left RRSC since 2007 and found affiliation elsewhere. Our Under-12 girls team was formed at the request of a core group of parents who left RRSC. A group of former RRSC Under-13 girls from Fargo are now affiliated with a Bismarck soccer club. Our Under-10 boys and Under-12 girls teams were also adopted by the same Bismarck soccer club just so they could play in the North Dakota State Tournament. Mr. Dunn spoke to the president of the Bismarck club and advised him against letting our 2 teams affiliate with Bismarck. The problems caused by the RRSC are so bad that we filed a discrimination grievance with the United States Soccer Federation in late April seeking inclusion for our kids in the local soccer leagues and State Tournament.
Mr. Dunn may claim that insurance or lack of affiliation is the reason for not including the FSC kids in to local programs. That canard has been tried and failed elsewhere in the country. The FSC is fully insured and part of the same United States Soccer Federation that RRSC and all the other North Dakota and Minnesota soccer teams belong to and enjoy.
The United States Soccer Federation should not have to intervene in Fargo. The solution is simple. LET THE KIDS PLAY SOCCER. I urge the RRSC as well as West Fargo Soccer and Moorhead Soccer boards to vote immediately to include the FSC kids in the FMWFSL and to support the FSC as members of the North Dakota Youth Soccer Association. Anything less is just putting some petty agenda ahead of the interests of the kids.
Matt Noah, President, Fargo Soccer Club