The mother of a Vancouver Whitecaps’ youth residency player says her son was attacked by teammates following a training session.
“These were his teammates,” the distraught mother told Global News. “It’s mind-blowing to think that this even happened.”
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The mother said her family moved to B.C. so her son could join the Major League Soccer (MLS) team’s residency program, which aims to develop promising young soccer players who aspire to a professional career.
“This was his dream,” she said. “We felt we had to do everything possible.”
She said an incident took place at Burnaby Central Secondary, where members of the Whitecaps residency program go to school, after tension had been building for some time. She said her son’s teammate told him they were going to “get him in training.”
A few hours later an incident took place in the change room at Burnaby 8 Rinks following a training session, she said.
“My son described it that the two boys were verbally abusing him, pushing him around,” she said.
“It then escalated to one of the boys pushing him on the ground, pinning him down.”
She then describes a graphic alleged sex assault. She said a handful of teammates tried to help her son.
“My son said he could hear some kids saying, ‘Stop, this isn’t right. Get off.’
“And as sickening as it is, he heard laughter from some boys and basically he was yelling himself and trying to get them off him.”
The alleged victim and both suspects are all under the age of 17.
The Whitecaps refused to answer questions because of the ongoing RCMP investigation, but said in a statement:
“A serious incident is alleged to have occurred between some male youth players at our Burnaby training facility last week which was in clear contravention of the club’s code of conduct.
“Two players involved were immediately put on indefinite suspension by the club and the matter was referred to the RCMP. The safety and well-being of our players is our top priority and we have been cooperating fully with the RCMP investigation.”
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Burnaby RCMP confirmed that two youths have each been charged with one count of sexual assault. Their names are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. No other details have been released.
“I feel that that the Whitecaps really, really, have to take a step back and look at what happened here and take responsibility,” the mother said.
Global News has learned the suspects were also suspended from school. The Whitecaps are not commenting on whether they will be returning to the team.
- With files from Rumina Daya