A South Florida youth league coach was apparently ejected from a game after he kept giving his players instructions in Spanish.
Ruben Albarracin, a volunteer soccer coach in Cooper City, Fla., told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said he was punished for speaking to his players in Spanish.
"I had never felt discriminated before," Albarracin, the coach of Dallas FC, told the newspaper. The team’s 12 players are mostly immigrants from Latin America.
An Optimist Club board member told the Sun-Sentinel the matter was simply a misunderstanding.
"During a meeting, we asked coaches to be careful and, for the benefit of the majority, speak in a language that everyone understands,” said board member Geri Kelly. “We have no rule [against speaking Spanish]. How could this be a rule?"
All he wanted, Kelly said, was for everyone to understand what the coach is saying.
Club members said they are being careful because of an incident last year when a Hebrew-speaking coach told his players to break the legs of players on the other team.
Still, a parent told the paper that coaches shouldn’t be prohibited from speaking to their players in a language they feel more comfortable speaking.
"Soccer is an international game. I don't understand how a coach can be prohibited from speaking in Spanish to a player," Parent Jorge Pujol told the paper. "It's not right."