An All-Star brouhaha


    I did not want to be in the center of a controversy regarding the boys AYSO U-12 soccer team.

    However, after reading the article in the Surfside News, I feel I must respond to some of the inaccurate facts that were printed. It appears from the article that I selected the team and called all the players without the proper authority. This is absolutely not true.

    If Kevin Driscoll, our Malibu AYSO commissioner, will sift through his selective memory, he will recall that we had a face-to-face meeting at the Bluffs Park, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, a full week after the team nominations (which are submitted by the division coaches) and four days after the final team selection by Lee Gywn, division director, and myself.

    At our meeting, Kevin expressed reservations about two of the players chosen for All-Stars. At the end of the meeting his words to me were: “If you don’t hear from me or anyone else by tonight, consider the team to be final.”

    I did not hear from anyone that night, but just to be sure, I waited until Thursday before making the phone calls to the players and their parents.

    When this team was picked it was done with a specific formation in mind. I wanted to play a 4-4-2 system which is, goal keeper, four defensers, four mid-fielders and two strikers. I believe this system is the best one to play regarding the level of opposition which Malibu encounters in All-Star play.

    Consequently, each player was chosen to play a certain position which I felt would utilize their talents to the fullest. Why would I pick a team that was “unbalanced?” As head coach, I would want the best team available.

    Unfortunately, our players had to be subject to adult in-fighting and politicizing. Subsequent to the selection of this team, people whose children were not picked pressured our commissioner into staging an after-the-fact “try-out” for the team. The All-Star team has never been selected in this way — maybe it is something to include in future seasons, but this was entirely an after-the-fact thing, and doubtful in authenticity, and certain players were not notified of this “try-out.”

    As head coach I was not even notified, this being perhaps understandable due to my unavailability owing to family illness. However, it would certainly be expected that our team’s assistant coach participate, and he was not notified. What kind of a “try-out” is that?

    In six years of coaching AYSO soccer here in Malibu, I’ve had the privilege of coaching two previous All-Star teams plus the last two years of coaching divisional championships that also won their area playoffs, and represented Malibu in sectional playoffs. So I feel that I have the experience that goes with coaching an All-Star team. I have spoken to the boys that were replaced, to let each of them know they deserved 100 percent to be chosen. It was done on merit alone.

    Michael Doyle