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Soccer parent in North Bay questioning decisions made by the local youth board

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One parent in North Bay believes the North Bay Youth Soccer Board of Directors should step down or that the city needs a new league. Mike Ianiro says a year ago his 17-year-old son was asked to join a team in the adult league, but the board told them the adult league doesn’t want any youth aged players playing. He says there were youth players playing, and the board saying they didn’t want his son to play he believes contradicts them inviting him. At that point, Ianiro says they questioned why his son wanted to play in the adult league. His son said he wanted to play at a more competitive level as he always had done, but in response he was told if he wanted to play at a competitive level he should go play in Sudbury. Ianiro says he was disappointed to hear that the powers that be are telling kids to go to Sudbury when North Bay has tons of good athletic fields.

He says his father-in-law who played and coached sports told him something that really got him thinking about this issue. The comment was that you never prohibit an athlete from playing when they’re at the peak of their abilities. He wants to see some changes to the way the North Bay Youth Soccer Board deals with players being able to play for teams they were invited to play for. When they asked to see their constitution and rules/regulations, Ianiro says they were asked for a $500 fee per document. Now 18-years-old, Ianiro says his son ran into the same problems this year. He says his son, and another player, were asked again to play in the adult league. Ianiro says for some reason, the youth league is able to prohibit this again.

Representatives from the youth board have stated they are following Ontario Soccer Association rules, but Ianiro says they are following their own rules. Ianiro added the youth board rep stated they don’t make decisions based on individual players, but the decisions are made as a league. He says five days later after making this statement, the youth board had two separate meetings with individual players in order to negotiate an agreement. Ianiro says his son was one of these players, and they were given three options.

Option 1 was to register for youth league and be able to play five games in the adult league as per adult league rules. Option 2 was simply to decline Option 1. Option 3 was to register and commit to the youth league, and be able to play the entire adult league season with the understanding that some youth games may be missed. Ianiro questions how the adult rule regarding playing only five games suddenly changed between Options 1/3 in the matter of under five minutes. For these reasons, Ianiro believes it’s clear the youth board isn’t interested in player development, but in retaining numbers for their own league for survival.

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