The technical instructor of a Winnipeg-based private soccer training academy says he’s not guilty of the charges of tampering and team stacking that have been alleged by the Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association (WYSA), and neither are any of the academy’s coaches or Hanover Soccer Club.
Nano Romero of One V One Soccer Academy said he has no idea where those charges are coming from, but suggested they’re part of a delaying tactic by WYSA.
Romero said the WYSA may be trying to halt players from his academy who had been previously registered with WYSA teams from getting together with players from Steinbach’s Hanover club.
“In not one instance has anybody from our coaching staff, or myself, convinced anybody or talked to anybody going into a regional transfer to go play for One V One itself,” said Romero.
“It’s a joint thing to help kids play. At the end of the day, it’s a beautiful game, but once the kids are enjoying it.”
Romero said he estimates six to eight teams of One V One and Hanover players would be competing in WYSA league play, if their applications hadn’t been rejected just before the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday afternoon.
“We don’t have teams of individuals from One V One. We don’t have the numbers to form teams ourselves,” said Romero.
“But with the Hanover players combined, sometimes a team will have more Hanover players and One V One will have less. It just works out for us and that’s why it’s such a good match.”
WYSA’s past president Adam Dooley said the league board took a dim view of what they consider to be a likely tampering situation, and alleged the academy “tried to circumvent those tampering rules by going to a club outside of the city, and with a super team, coming back to compete against our clubs.”
Romero, however, said that is simply not the truth.
“We do have a U-13 team that applied to play at the highest level in the premier league,” he said.
“But two of the four 12 year old players turning 13 were rated as P1 players and the other two were P2s. The level would be 12-year-olds, and 11-year-olds being brought up.
“Just because Mr. Dooley said we were stacking teams, you could imagine you can’t stack a team with two P2 players and two P1 players and five or six U-11s. It just doesn’t make sense.”
READ MORE: Valour FC releases inaugural schedule
Romero said he’s not sure what to expect for the coming season. He’d like a commitment from WYSA and the Manitoba Soccer Association that would allow the One V One and Hanover merged teams to compete in tournaments as well as exhibition games.
He remains suspicious, however, about the timing of the tampering charges, and the ensuing investigation by the disciplinary committee.
“We’re gonna help the players, that’s what we’re all about,” said Romero. “But at the same time, I would say to WYSA and the MSA… let’s all sit together and and let’s get this solved. Because if it’s about the player, let’s make this all about the player.”
In a year from now, there is a very good chance the boundary system that has been used by the Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association and the Manitoba Soccer Association will no longer apply for the 2020 spring and summer season, because the Canadian Soccer Association has reportedly mandated that change.
“They’ve done everything to slow it down, said Romero, but change is coming. Boundaries have to come down. It’s done everywhere else. We can’t continue it.”