When you put your hand up to become a soccer coach you are taking on a huge responsibility. Along with that responsibility comes accountability. It does not matter at what level we are coaching, the responsibilities and accountabilities are the same.
A number of families involved with the county’s youth soccer community have united to defend a soccer coach who was accused last week of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl while attending a [tag-tec]soccer camp[/tag-tec].
[tag-tec]Juan Jose Aranguri[/tag-tec], 46 and director of the South America Soccer Academy, has stepped down as coach of a girls’ team with the Bethesda Soccer Club and he has been suspended from other coaching duties with MSI soccer, which is one of the county’s largest soccer clubs, pending the outcome of the criminal case against him. He was arrested last week for allegedly inappropriately touching a girl in July while she was a student at the academy.
According to police, Aranguri began massaging the 12-year-old’s legs after she developed leg cramps and then proceeded to inappropriately touch the child, prompting her to repeatedly push his hand away, said Lt. Paul Starks, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police, citing the statement of charges against Aranguri.
Lt. Paul Starks said police have received numerous calls from parents expressing concern on both sides of the issue including from some parents seeking advice for determining whether there had been any inappropriate contact between Aranguri and their own children.
“This is simply probable cause for arrest and charging him,” Starks said. “It doesn’t rise to the level of conviction.”
Members of Bethesda Legacy, the girls’ team associated with the [tag-tec]Bethesda Soccer Club[/tag-tec], has come to his defense.
Families of the players recently held a meeting to discuss the charges, at which the sentiment was one of support for Aranguri, said Mark Lauda, team manager and the father of a team member.
“It’s absolutely the general perception – we think he’s going to be vindicated,” Lauda said.
“The parents all saw this as a time to come together, rather than the opposite,” said Doug Schuessler, executive director of [tag-tec]MSI soccer[/tag-tec]. Though Aranguri was not employed by MSI, he coached one of the organization’s teams, and has been suspended from his coaching duties, Schuessler said.
“We’ve taken the appropriate protective action — which is imperative,” he said. “But beyond that, we’ll let the process play itself out before drawing any conclusions.”
Aranguri, was arrested Aug. 11 and charged with sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of third-degree sexual offense, according to a statement issued by Montgomery County Police.
Lauda said his daughter had never complained of an inappropriate incident involving Aranguri. “I’m certain if something like that was going on, we would have known about it,” Lauda said. “I know my daughter wouldn’t keep quiet about something like that.”
Schuessler said that Aranguri, like other coaches, had been subject to routine background checks. “There were no flags raised,” he said.
A preliminary hearing for Juan Jose Aranguri, was postponed to Sept. 19 in Montgomery County District Court.