ST. LOUIS – The mother of a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis recently filed a federal lawsuit after her son was not selected to the junior varsity or varsity soccer teams.
In the lawsuit filed Sept. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jane Doe claims the school district adopted a policy banning male juniors who did not make the varsity team and would not be starters on the junior varsity team from playing on the junior varsity team.
"The policy is not applied to sophomores, freshmen or female athletes," the suit claims. "John Doe has been excluded from junior varsity because of his age or gender, even though the varsity coach admits he was 'on the bubble' for making varsity. An injunction should be entered without delay."
Jane Doe claims that her son "loves soccer," and that as a sophomore he was on the junior varsity team and scored a total of five goals with two assists, which she claims was "well above average for the team."
The suit says that in the past two years the high school fielded three teams – varsity, junior varsity and freshman.
Based on John Doe's performance as a sophomore and his improvement in the off-season, he expected to make varsity this fall, "or at least return to junior varsity for the 2018 season," the suit said.
"Last year, eight juniors made junior varsity, but in all prior years known to plaintiffs, juniors did not make the junior varsity at LHS," the suit claims.
Jane Doe says she received a letter from the soccer coach advising her that John was "right on the bubble ... has some impressive attributes ... however, there were a few holes in his game including technical ability and game decision making that put him behind a number of kids. ... In the end, there were just too many kids who had a little better soccer skill and soccer IQ for him to make the (varsity) team."
"Unlike juniors, sophomores and freshmen who failed to qualify for varsity were not dismissed as a group from the soccer program but were considered for the junior varsity or freshman teams," the suit states. "Upon information and belief, freshmen and sophomores on this year’s junior varsity men’s soccer team on average are younger than the juniors who were cut from the program."
The plaintiff is represented by attorneys at Sowers Ernst and Carey, Danis & Lowe in St. Louis.