Age discrimination suit filed because 16-year-old boy didn’t make soccer team

It’s probably just as well that a woman filing a federal lawsuit in Missouri is identified only as Jane Doe because life can be pretty rough for anyone who files a lawsuit because their son didn’t make the high school soccer team.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the family accepts that Student Doe, who played JV soccer last season, didn’t make the big team, but he didn’t make the JV squad either. They say they were told the JV openings went to freshmen and sophomores because they have more time to polish their skills and help the big team.

That’s age discrimination, their lawsuit contends. The kid is 16.

“There are many schools across the country that have this policy that you either make varsity as a junior or you’re out of the program,” the lad’s stepfather said. “And that’s an illegal policy. If someone said ‘Cut all the blacks,’ that would be illegal. And it’s illegal for age too.”

The school district counters that students have no right to be on a sports team; it’s a privilege, it said in court documents, the Post Dispatch said. It agreed to keep everyone’s identity a secret.

The boy didn’t make any team as a freshman, the stepfather said. He said the family didn’t complain then. “We told him to man up and up his game,” the lawyer says. “He had to develop his game.”

The family hired a private coach for the boy, he joined a St. Louis club team, and he improved, his stepfather said. He was one of the leading scorers on junior varsity last year. The stepfather said he is going to file court papers under seal naming other players who made varsity “with way worse stats” than the boy who was cut.

The coach told the boy’s stepfather, in an email filed with the court, that there were 40 students trying out for 24 spots on varsity. The coach lauded John Doe’s maturity and said the boy was “right on the bubble,” the coach said, and had some impressive soccer attributes such as “his attacking mentality and straight line speed.”

However, the coach went on to say that the boy had a “few holes in his game,” including technical ability, and that other kids had better skill and “soccer IQ.”

The stepfather said the coach’s decision has left the boy humiliated.

The stepfather acknowledged that people will think the boy isn’t very good “and we’re all a bunch of crybabies.”

He is also one of the attorneys in the case and says the case has already racked up $100,000 in attorney fees.