Update: Surf Cup Scandal- Match Fixing involved two of the Nations Top U11 Teams
As promised, we’re back with an update. As most are aware, the validity of the original article was legally challenged. We voluntarily elected to briefly unpublish, adhering to legal counsel, while we compiled further evidence and obtained new sources. As you can imagine, this story has received national attention, so we’d like to start by saying thanks to all our readers and followers. That said, if you didn't already read the original article, you can catch up here.
Many have been eagerly awaiting this update... so let’s jump right in….
Having successfully fixed the group stage match to advance, both TFA and Texans went on to win their semi-final games to advance to play each other in the final (the masterplan). However, the cat was out of the bag by then. Prior to the final, Surf Cup leadership was made fully aware of the match-fixing scheme. The match officials even reported in their tournament notes to Surf Cup leadership, that “neither team made any attempt to attack or score a goal.” In addition to the refs, one parent came forward and turned over both the team-snap/text messages showing the details of the coach’s decision to fix the match. (see the screenshots we share). Upon receiving this information, SC staffers have confirmed that their leadership spoke with the players during the pre-game period of the final about sportsmanship. During which, the players were asked to raise their hands if anyone had instructed them not ”to attempt to shoot, score, or even “attack”. We are told by Surf Cup staff that multiple players raised their hands in response. Realizing what was taking place, multiple TFA parents began to blitz the discussion, rushing from the parents' side of the field to intervene and stop the questioning of their kids. Surf Cup leadership then questioned both coaches, who vehemently denied everything.
In the end, Surf Cup’s leadership decided to maintain the dignity of their event and opted to allow the final to play out, simply in the interest of not taking the moment from the children. While many disagree with the decision to allow them to play the final, most of us understand that they simply chose to honor the fact that Youth Soccer is about the kids first. Why penalize the children, for the actions of the adults? That being said, Surf Cup’s policy on Fair Play and Cheating is documented and very clear. In the tournament section labeled “Appeals/Fair Play” their rules state:
“Cheating will not be tolerated. Any team caught cheating, in any manner, will immediately be forfeited out of the event and will not be accepted into any Surf Cup Sports event in the future. Other teams from the cheating team’s club will also be banned from Surf Cup Sports events and if already accepted to a future event will be withdrawn and refunded. The coach and manager from the team caught cheating will be banned from Surf Cup Sports events indefinitely and will be referred to their State Association for further disciplinary actions.”
While Surf has not made a public statement regarding their intent, at a minimum it doesn’t appear likely that any teams coached by Kevin Salazar or Vicente Caparelli will be welcomed back to Surf, and both coaches may soon have disciplinary complaints filed with their respective home state associations. We will follow-up as we learn more on that topic.
Take a look a the breakdown our source from Surf Cup provides:
We would like to make it clear that Surf Cup’s leadership has NOT reached out to us threatening any legal action. Those reports are falsely being perpetuated to deflect from the issues at hand. The only threat of legal action came from Kevin Salazar on behalf of the Dallas Texans. Kevin Salazar initially agreed to sit down and talk with us about this situation but we have since declined that invitation.
As you can see, he made several statements that were inconsistent with the facts that we already had. For example, Surf knew everything, and only decided to let the teams play the final because of their concerns of cheating the kids out of the experience. So it's doubtful that Texans DoC [Hassan] contacted anyone in that context. As we spent hours dialoguing with Kevin directly, one thing became very apparent, deflection. Notice in his response, there is no denial of collusion or fixing the match. We even spoke with Salazar over the phone, where he vehemently denied that there was a TeamSnap message sent by him to his parents prior to the match, yet we’ve been able to confirm from sources within his the team that there was indeed a TeamSnap message:
So we felt it was best to discontinue our communication with him directly. In response to our request for a video of the full match, Kevin shared with us some edited clips of the match. One of the edited clips appears to show that at least one shot was taken by a TFA player:
https://youtu.be/lMdgr4btIQQ (also shown below)
As shown in the video, the TFA player does indeed take a shot wide left. More importantly, take a closer look at #10-Texans (white) at the bottom of the screen. His body language seems to tell you everything you need to know. Watch the video again and only study him. Did you see it? Notice his reaction to the shot being taken is to turn to the sidelines with a confused shrug. As if to say "Hey coach, didn't you tell us not to shoot?" Anyone out there left with any doubt that this match was fixed, should simply study him.
While on the surface this clip seems to corroborate Salazar’s claim that both teams were competing to win, we’ve also confirmed with 3 independent sources (2 parents with kids on the teams, and 1 Surf Cup staffer), that what has been edited is the fact that the TFA coach (Vicente Caparelli) quickly subs the player for taking the shot. Both Caparelli and Salazar are equally complicit. Ironically, we’ve also learned that Vicente is currently attending classes to obtain his coaching license. Let's just hope there is an extensive section on ethics because it's pretty obvious he wasn't forthcoming with his club's leadership. As promised, we were forwarded the email TFA's DoC sent to Surf in defense of his coach and parents:
Let's keep in mind what Kevin Salazar said above, there was never a parent meeting, right? Both 10B TFA and 10B Texans parents are equally complicit with these coaches. As far as I'm concerned, the parents are the lone reason this type of unethical behavior continues in youth sports. If they had any integrity, perhaps the coaches would have thought twice about even notifying them of the scheme. For us, the fact that it was even mentioned to parents before the match, says everything we need to know about them collectively. It appears, with a few exceptions, that they’ve all agreed to exchange their child's integrity for a cheap trophy. Every parent knew the full truth before the game and did nothing to prevent it. They all (again with few exceptions) stood by silently as Surf officials tried to get a handle on the truth, and made a conscious decision to stand with their coach. It seems they've chosen the coaches instead of their own kids. We can all learn a harsh lesson from this and every parent that didn't speak up should be ashamed. We have confirmed that at-least one Texans parents has sought a release in writing (email). However, that release has not been granted yet. So, perhaps the very parents who raised the initial concern with Surf staffers could be working to disassociate themselves from the club completely.
We will update as we learn more…