Features & Opinions Editor
The York women’s soccer team is fighting to clear the name of their head coach, Peyvand Mossavat. He was abruptly dismissed without cause by the director of Sport York, Jennifer Myers, on August 18.
The players have begun two petitions in light of what has happened to Mossavat and how Sport York has handled it. The first petition has over 90 signatures from parents, coaches, and players, all of whom do not agree with the situation. The second petition is in response to the comment Ms. Myers made to the public on September 1, denying that a majority of players on the team were upset: “There are a couple of people who are upset and [the team] has resources and support,” Myers said.
Felicia Turone, who started the first petition, has been a player on the women’s soccer team for four years. She disagrees with the statements Myers made to Excalibur.
“I was shocked by her response,” she says. “We haven’t even seen you around here, so how can you say we’re happy? How can you say only a couple of people are unhappy with it, when there are tons of people, and it has changed so many different lives?”
Former assistant coach of the women’s soccer team Richard Bucciarelli was also bothered by the comment Myers made.
“I think everyone was upset and everyone was affected by it,” he says. “The ones that are there, I don’t think they’re in a good emotional state. They may not have confidence in the school even if they did decide to stay. To say that a small group was affected, that’s just not true.”
The former women’s soccer head coach, Peyvand Mossavat, adds that the comment was an incorrect assumption by Myers.
“It’s sad that they make that assumption [despite all] the coaches who have quit the program and the players who have left the team,” he says. “Even some of the players who chose to come back, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not happy and not affected by this.”
Vp students Rob Tiffin recognizes the petitions, and notes that team members are open to state their opinions.
“They are free to express their views and make them known to Ms. Myers on this matter,” says Tiffin. “I guess we’re still in the stage where I think that we need to focus on going forward because the season is underway now.”
Since the firing has taken place, four players and the entire asistant coaching staff have left the team in a show of loyalty to Mossavat, and because of Sport York’s decision to keep the reasons behind Mossavat’s firing a secret.
Alicia Donaldson, a veteran player who chose to leave the team feels that the environment was just not a place to play.
“I reached a point where I wasn’t getting any clarity and for me to remain in that environment would just be against my morals and representing the school would just be against what I stand for,” she says. “I chose not to represent York this year because of the way they handled the situation. I was lied to on numerous occasions.”
Turone, who respects the decisions by her teammates and coaches to quit, explains that everything that the team does is for Peyvand.
“All of this is for Peyvand, we don’t need the answers,” she says. “We just want Peyvand to have the answers so Peyvand can own up to [his mistake] or Peyvand can say ‘no I need to defend myself’ because he never did. He deserves to defend himself because he has done so much for the people. And to be stabbed in the back like that, it’s terrible. It’s sad that that’s what it’s come to.”
According to Mossavat, Myers has refused to sit down and talk with his lawyers to discuss the dismissal. Mossavat hopes that at some point he’ll be able to have closure from the decision Sport York has made.
“For those on the outside, there is this cloud over my head,” he says. “Their failure to properly look into this, investigate this, and fairness in doing this has destroyed my reputation.”
As of publication, Myers could not be reached for comment.
Players began a Facebook group in an effort to gain support and raise awareness for former head coach, Peyvand Mossavat. The group so far has 264 members and hopes to grow.