Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

Essays, Player Reviews, Scouting Reports, Events, Match Reviews, Statistics and Things of no Importance

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why the Pumas Lost their Super Fan

It doesn't take a master of the beautiful game to see that. It takes someone with two eyes and not only a love for the game being played on the pitch, but a love for the players bringing that game to life. So, to all of the players who have suffered from the manipulation and webs of lies this club weaves for you, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I am sorry for not being upfront with you, I am sorry for sugar coating your experiences in my blog posts. I am sorry for what you went through and I am sorry for not taking action earlier. These words I am finally putting to paper should have been said a long time ago, and my optimism about what this club was becoming has been misleading to many. 


I've been sitting on this since July of 2013, because it takes a lot of courage for a 19-year-old blogger with a love for soccer to stand up to an entire football club that could soil my reputation in this soccer community with a single keystroke. It takes a lot of courage for a 19-year-old to stand up to an entire football club if that football club were to have any sort of dignity or backbone, but I am instead calling out the blatant disrespect that my local club has for the game and for those involved.
I have been a supporter of the Kitsap Pumas since 2010. I didn't miss a home game from 2010 all the way through 2013, indoor and outdoor. My family opened our homes for players to both live and to use for three seasons in a row. I opened up my blog and Facebook page to market this team. I told everyone I knew how fun matches were, how great the players were and most of all how proud I was of this little club being integrated in this great community. That all changed in 2013.
Something that certain members of this staff have seemed to have forgotten or daftly never understood is that word spreads like wildfire in this community. Nothing you say in the locker room stays there. Everything you say on the pitch is heard by outside ears. That is not the fault of your players or the fault of your fans, or the fault of your staff, that is simply human nature.
Not only were several counts of inappropriate behavior passed on to me through the grapevine, but I witnessed first-hand the audacity you possess. In Tacoma against the Sounders U23s, I rode to the game with a group of players- something I have done since the 2011 season to save gas money since they had troubles getting reimbursed for it and since I'm the type of fan that will make the 2 hour drive bearing cookies, snacks,  and Gatorades out of a love for the club. It has not once been a problem or a "club policy". Being a young female, I was a little on-edge about sitting so close to the rowdy, slobbering drunk Sounders supporters alone- perfectly understandable. I sat in proximity to the group of players that I rode with upon their request to keep an eye on me in the company of other Puma supporters. At half time, I was told that a certain member of the staff wanted me out. I was not kindly told to go to the other side of the stands, I was not told what I had done or why sitting with the people I rode with and other Puma supporters was apparently inappropriate, I was just told to leave a stadium that wasn't even our home stadium. Wow. After all I had already done for your club that season and seasons before, you have the balls (or the lack thereof) to not even come and tell me yourself that you want me out of the stadium- wherever that was supposed to be. There was much more to this story that I heard through others, but the fact that this happened to my face for no apparent reason really punched me in the gut. This was the third game of the 2013 season. Not once throughout that entire season was I greeted with anything other than a scowl or a quick break of eye-contact. I was treated extremely cold despite my constant warmth, undying loyalty, and bearing of cookies. Not once in my three years of attending games at that club religiously did I do anything to deserve that kind of treatment and lack of appreciation. I won't list specifics of the wrongful treatment I witnessed of players over the years and I won't even begin to mention the disgusting treatment fans like myself received for all of the tireless work they put in to supporting your club because we'd be here all day.
I do not write this article searching for pity. I held my head high and acted with strength and dignity in spite of the poor treatment I received. I wrote this article to show past players who were subjected to this circus that they are not alone. This article is being written for all of those hopeful boys with little knowledge of how easy it is to screw someone over and ruin their career with a simple, poorly worded contract. This article is written for every penny of their own money those boys had to spend on basic resources and car repairs that unjustly fell on them. This article is for lack of professionalism, poor sportsmanship demonstrated by the coaching staff, and this article is written for every game that they busted those players asses but fell to pieces under poor leadership and poor coaching. It doesn't take a master of the beautiful game to see that. It takes someone with two eyes and not only a love for the game being played on the pitch, but a love for the players bringing that game to life. So, to all of the players who have suffered from the manipulation and webs of lies this club weaves for you, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I am sorry for not being upfront with you, I am sorry for sugar coating your experiences in my blog posts. I am sorry for what you went through and I am sorry for not taking action earlier. These words I am finally putting to paper should have been said a long time ago, and my optimism about what this club was becoming has been misleading to many.
You all need to understand that this was not an easy decision for me. In spite of my terrible experiences with this club, they have also given me some of the greatest gifts in life. Leaving my post as top attendee was not easily. The players we've housed have turned into family, the National Championship in 2011 is one of my favorite memories and is still sitting on our DVR untouched. The fans who surrounded me at every game have become my family, and many fans and players at the club have been the biggest advocates for my blog's photographs and articles. This club is not all bad, and there is so much potential for good, but the dangerously detrimental part that started as a small dark mark has metastasized to a cancerous mass.
You can blow me off, tell me that I don't know the whole story, tell one of your poor assistants to call me out via Twitter but I am hoping that it is now clear to all of you that I, and many others in this community, know far more about what goes on behind closed doors than you think we do in part because last season it was blatantly obvious on the pitch and the way that the public support was received. That's not a threat, that's not a claim, that's a fact. The unprofessional nature of your club can't be covered up any more.

2 comments:

Derrik Daniels said...

Hey Madi,

I'm not jumping on the band wagon as a scorned parent who's son wasn't given a fair chance, but was wondering about some of these decisions that you speak of. I admire you for standing up and being heard, "no body puts Baby in the corner".

I drove 14 hours roundtrip on several occasions to watch my son play with the team he chose, and that chose him. As the 2013 season wore on, his playing time and demeanor changed drastically. I am not saying that he didn't have anything to do with his diminishing role for the Pumas, but I do know that his frustration grew tremendously. For the love of the game, he had put all his trust in one team, and moved cross country, to be told that his "attitude caused his decline on the pitch".

Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud parent, but several fans and parents mentioned they were surprised of his lack of playing time. Luckily though, he requested to be released, and the team (coach) responded. He is now scheduled for two Pro Combines on the East Coast and a possible tryout overseas.

Sad to think that one small minded Hitler type, no names to mention, can come in to so many young peoples lives and purposefully crush their dreams. I know you probably don't remember meeting me, but it was all my pleasure; In todays society, your energy and passion were a breath of fresh air. I hope that you do not let this experience discourage you from the game. It is simply amazing to watch these young men battle it out on the pitch and become a family whether they win or loose, learning the value of "team".

Keep up your spirit, as "a true Champion isn't measured by how many times he can get up after being knocked down, but by how he responds when he gets back up". You have responded like a pro and the true fan that you are, genuine.

Allez Madi,


D. Daniels
Most Proud Parent

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