The NISA's Oakland Roots
released former U.S. U-20 midfielder Benji Joya following his arrest on Wednesday in his hometown of San Jose on charges of sending harmful matter to a minor, which is a felony, and annoying or
molesting a child under the age of 18, a misdemeanor.
The San Jose Mercury-News reported that the San Jose Police Department alleges he communicated with a San Jose teenager via Snapchat and sent several genital photos to her.
Joya started his pro career with Mexico’s Santos Laguna and debuted in Liga MX shortly after his 19th birthday in 2012. He played for the USA at the 2013 U-20 World Cup and went on loan to the Chicago Fire. Joya shuffled between MLS and Mexico before his homecoming in 2018 after playing for Irapuato in the Mexican third division.
Joya, 26, was coaching six teams – two each at U-14, U-13 and U-12s – at LFC Liverpool International-Bay Area in Los Gatos. He was one of the stars of the Roots, who packed crowds at Laney College's football stadium in Oakland last fall and in its 2020 spring opener.
The Roots' statement:
“Today, the Oakland Roots were disappointed to learn that midfielder Benji Joya was arrested in San Jose on Wednesday. Therefore, the Club has decided to release him. The Roots will have no further comment on this issue given the ongoing investigation.”