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New York City prep soccer and Title IX
by Paul Kennedy, January 28th, 2009 8AM



Most folks associate Title IX issues with college athletics, but Title IX litigation or the threat of Title IX litigation is increasingly common in high school sports. In a case receiving national coverage, the New York City Department of Education agreed to move the girls soccer season from the spring to the fall (the same as for boys soccer) because the spring prep season conflicted with club soccer. The decision, which followed threats of litigation by the New York Civil Liberties Union, has not been universally praised.

The NYCLU's clients were Hannah Anousheh, a 10th-grade student at Bronx Science High School, Christina Angione, an 11th-grade student at Beacon High School in Manhattan, and Alyssa Ward, a 10th-grade student at School of the Future in Manhattan.

"Girls deserve the opportunity to play year round," said Anousheh, 15. "Having a fall season will spare me the exhaustion of playing for both my school and premier club team in the spring. I'll have more time to focus on my soccer game and my schoolwork, an opportunity the boys have always enjoyed."

Boys and girls soccer have had separate PSAL seasons for 28 years. Girls soccer in the rest of New York is played in the fall. The big concern of the NYCLU girls was that they were unable to participate  in club competitions that attracted college recruiters in the spring or had difficulty juggling their play on two soccer teams and their schoolwork.

"This is American Soccer," though, outlined the ramifications of the girls' move to the fall, including the possibility that both boys and girls will have their schedules cut in half to eight games or some programs will be dropped altogether because of the scarcity of fields, coaches and referees.

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