U-18 teams accused of collusion called 'disrespectful' by U.S. Youth Soccer

After accusations that two girls U-18 teams colluded for a 0-0 result that would suit them both at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas, U.S. Youth Soccer released a statement  in which it deemed Carlsbad Elite of Southern California and Ohio’s Ambassadors FC “disrespectful,” cleared the teams of collusion, but fined both teams.

After the 0-0 tie gave Carlsbad first place and the Ambassadors second place in Group A, ahead of third-place Syracuse Development Academy, the Ambassadors fell in the semifinals and Carlsbad finished runner-up in U.S. Youth Soccer Frank Kelly Cup after a 3-0 final loss to Tennessee SC 16.

U.S. Youth Soccer, in its statement about the Carlsbad-Ambassadors game that prompted the posting of video clips on social media, announced that its investigation “determined the coaches may have had a material effect on the outcome of the match. Disciplinary action and monetary fines have been assessed to both teams.”

But the investigation, which included interviews with the teams in question and game officials, “did not find sufficient evidence of collusion.”

The investigating committee did find that “the teams were disrespectful to the game, the competition and US Youth Soccer. The integrity of the National Championships Series Competition is predicated on fair play and sportsmanship by all participants and those ideals were compromised. ...

"While each team worked hard on the first two days of play to put themselves in a position to advance, we believe the strategy of the coaches in this game failed their players, the competition and the principles of sportsmanship and fair play."

15 comments about "U-18 teams accused of collusion called 'disrespectful' by U.S. Youth Soccer ".
  1. Goal Goal, July 31, 2016 at 9:15 p.m.

    Any coach for either of these teams who were involved or had knowledge of this should be suspended for life. The clubs should be heavily fined and placed on probation. In addition at this age if any players had knowledge or participated in this should suffer some type of punishment.

    If officials were involved. Lifetime suspension.

    What a mess.

  2. Heather Dobrott, July 31, 2016 at 10:06 p.m.

    Now, perhaps US Youth will investigate serious child safety issues, financial shenanigans and corruption in Garland Soccer and NTSSA read David Arciniega?



  3. Bob Ashpole, August 1, 2016 at 5:26 a.m.

    USYSA's position is utter nonsense and a complete fabrication. There are no specific USYSA or USSF "principles of fair play or sportsmanship." None of the ethical considerations these organizations have expressed suggest that playing for a tie rather than a win in a competition is unethical or unsporting. Playing for a tie is not unethical or unsporting. Fans don't like it? Since when is youth sports supposed to be entertainment for fans?

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, August 1, 2016 at 5:29 a.m.

    PS: The NSCAA does have a Code of Ethics for coaches, and it does not prohibit playing for a tie in a competition.

  5. Will G replied, August 1, 2016 at 10:42 a.m.

    You are correct, there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing for a tie. Just as there is nothing wrong with bunkering in to limit goals scored on you, throwing everyone forward to score or any other in game strategy. However, this is not what happened in this game. Did you watch the video? These two teams did not play for a tie...that would involve actually playing the match, which neither of them did. What each team did was an absolute embarrassment and I think USYSA came down way too lightly on them.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, August 1, 2016 at 2:41 p.m.

    So your complaint is that the U18G amateur players are not skilled enough to fake an attacking game and that the teams did not press into their attacking thirds? The smart approach is make the game a cakewalk to rest your players for the next match in the competition. This type of situation has occurred numerous times with professional players (with similar complaints from fans). This is why the schedules for world cup matches were changed to simultaneous matches. It isn't even against the rules of competition or else the USYSA would have said so. Do you also complain when a team, not needing a result, starts all its substitutes? If USYSA wants to eliminate this type of play, they need to change the rules.

  7. Will G replied, August 1, 2016 at 4:57 p.m.

    First of all, let's get the facts straight. The other game that held importance in this group was played at the exact same time, so USYSA held the same concept as major International Tournaments. Second, no, I have absolutely zero issue if both teams would have played all their subs for the entire match. At least with the subs playing the match would be decided on the field. One team earned the right to advance before the match, the other team didn't. It needed a result and that result was decided before the game was played. The fact that you are defending what happened, no matter what the case there is no justification.

  8. Ginger Peeler, August 1, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    Is the video indicative of most of the game? If so, while I agree there's nothing wrong with playing for a tie, well, passing a ball between teammates without any challenges from the opposing team is either the height of sportsmanship ("okay, you take the ball and keep it for awhile." "Thanks, we'll pass it back to you to do the same in just a bit.") or just the exact opposite. Initially, I thought the video was of a team warming up. Well then, what's the problem? But then the ball was kicked upfield so the other team could warm up. If that was the real game, where were the players running forward to challenge for and try to steal the ball? Where were the players trying to play a soccer match? Playing for a tie is one thing. Going out on the field and making no attempt to do anything but pass the ball around to your teammates with no efforts from the other team to get the ball would indicate that this was planned ahead of time. It's no different from throwing a game. I don't understand why the folks in the background aren't screaming for some action. If the players and/or coaches are making some kind of protest, it makes sense. Is that video really indicative of the game play?

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, August 1, 2016 at 2:43 p.m.

    Ginger, why would you as a coach only needing a tie allow your players to press high into your attacking third? I pose this rhetorical question because I believe you understand the game.

  10. Goal Goal, August 1, 2016 at 4:26 p.m.

    Bob this is youth soccer. When winning by any means out ranks the experience of the game there is a serious problem. Trying to justify this is ridiculous. If I saw that one of my kids were involved in such a farce I would have personally yanked them from the field and let the chips fall where they may. This can't be justified.

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, August 1, 2016 at 11:10 p.m.

    The objectives at U18 are different than U8. At U18 the focus is on teaching the players how to win.

  12. David Trapp, August 2, 2016 at 7:50 a.m.

    Bob,,,seriously? You had to pretend that winning was a priority? In forty years of coaching I have never had to pretend that winning was a priority. At every team meeting, before, during and after each season, I preached player development. I have won my share of games but more importantly I have developed players to accomplish their goals and objectives. To me, "pretending" that winning was a priority is very poor coaching.

  13. Will Lozier, August 2, 2016 at 10:28 a.m.

    Will G is spot on...this is pathetic and should be dealt with harshly. Sad to see the referee running around more than any single player and I guess pretending to be unaware of what is going on. I am happy to report that neither team won the title.

  14. Ben Willis, August 3, 2016 at 5:08 p.m.

    Is anyone familiar with a similar experience to this at a junior level? I can't recall an occasion when two teams showed up and put on this sort of demonstration at this level. If the outcome was predetermined, what did Carlsbad garner from helping out the Ambassadors? Based on the other outcomes of the group, it would have taken something special for Syracuse to finish ahead of Ohio and progress without this nonsense. It all strikes me as rather odd....

  15. Kent James, August 4, 2016 at 12:38 a.m.

    While playing for a tie is acceptable, not playing when you are on the field is never okay. If you don't want to play, don't step on the field. If you step on the field, be proud of what you do. Anyone involved with this game should be ashamed (though to be fair, I'm not sure if the referees could have done anything...start giving cards for unsporting conduct? It would work, but it might get ugly...).

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