Cal South is dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable athletic experience. Adherence to Cal South’s standards for appropriate conduct, respect, and safety are mandatory. This applies to players, coaches, administrators, referees and spectators. Violations will not be tolerated and will be adjudicated to the fullest extent.
On January 12, 2020, an incident occurred at the Albion Soccer Club Development Showcase. An already heated soccer match was disrupted when an older sibling of one of the players came onto the pitch and assaulted an opposing player. Before the referees could address the situation and restore order, other spectators came onto the pitch. The resulting melee was intensified by unsubstantiated claims that a spectator possessed and was brandishing a “weapon,” which caused concern and panic throughout the venue. The authorities quickly responded to the complaint, conducted an initial investigation and confirmed the safety of the participants and supporters. Cal South treats this incident with the utmost seriousness. The behavior demonstrated by the persons involved will not be tolerated.
Cal South is investigating the situation with its affiliate member and the authorities, and while we review the incident, we are taking the following interim measures:
- Due to the seriousness of the situation, both participating teams, their coaches, players, administrators and the spectators involved in this incident are suspended and ineligible to participate in any Cal South sanctioned tournaments until Cal South completes its investigation and holds hearings.
- Failure of any team or its staff to participate in Cal South’s investigation will result in further disciplinary action up to and including de-registration from all Cal South sanctioned leagues.
Further, effective immediately, Cal South is implementing the following interim safety measures for the upcoming State and National Cup competitions:
- On-site security personnel and/or law enforcement will be present at all the State and National Cup events throughout the State and National Cup Season. During the opening weekend of State Cup scheduled for January 18 and 19, the affected venues are Ryan Park in Escondido; Galway Downs in Temecula; Silverlakes Sports Complex in Norco; and the San Bernardino Soccer Complex.
- The number of on-site Cal South personnel will be increased and spot auditing will be performed to assess and ensure compliance with Cal South safety and sportsmanship policies.
- The number of on-site Referee Coordinators will be increased.
- A “Home and Away” side initiative will be implemented and enforced to separate teams and supporters.
- Coaches of participating teams and referee officials will be required to conduct a meet, greet and introduction session at the center circle prior to the start of each match.
- Cal South’s Code of Conduct Policies will be recommunicated and reaffirmed to all coaches, administrators, and players participating in the competitions.
In addition, over the upcoming days, weeks, and months Cal South will be reviewing additional security and other measures, including, but not limited to, emergency evacuation plans, procedures, and training at facilities, working with referees to create a safer playing environment and holding coaches and clubs more accountable for the behavior of participants and spectators.
We understand that this incident has had an effect on many spectators and witnesses. To assist those persons, we are providing telephonic access to emotional support for anyone in the Cal South community. The service is provided by trained behavioral health counselors, is completely confidential, and offered at no cost for the next 30 days. The number to call is (866) 315-7370.
We wish to express our gratitude for the multiple inquires and recommendations received in the aftermath of this incident and we will respond to those inquiries. We look forward to working with the entire soccer community to ensure the safety, well-being and enjoyment of all participants. We will keep our members informed of the next steps to be taken.