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Soccer dad: Gridiron coach stole field

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The city is investigating whether to discipline a high-school football coach who allegedly kicked two youth soccer teams off a city-owned field two weekends in a row.

The disputed turf, Charles B. Wang Field, is Brooklyn Technical High School’s state-of-the-art soccer and football field. It sits adjacent to PS 753, and has been used by local sports leagues for years without incident.

That changed on May 12, when Jim DeBenedetto, varsity football coach for Brooklyn Tech, allegedly told the two youth soccer coaches to vacate.

“He came out at about 9:15 am or so, and told me we would have to leave the field by 9:45,” said Bob Byer, who runs Fort Greene Sports. Byer, who was coaching a group of 6- and 7-year-olds in soccer, said he had a permit for the field.

“I said, ‘Coach, we’re going to be finished by 10 am. Give us 15 minutes or so, and we’ll be out of your hair.’ And he said, ‘No, I need to get started earlier than that.’ Then he turned and walked away.”

Byer said he followed the coach into the adjacent school and confronted him about his “piss-poor attitude,” after which the coach launched into a tirade.

Then, according to Byer, the coach came out with his high-school football players and tried to intimidate the 6- and 7-year-old soccer players. When Byer wouldn’t budge, the coach allegedly tried to force another youth soccer league, Young Rock Soccer Academy, off the field.

The following Saturday, when Byer showed up to play, his team was locked out. So was Musa Kadiri’s, who runs the Young Rock Soccer Academy.

“They’re trying to deny the little kids access to the field,” said Kadiri. “To me, that’s sad.”

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) agreed to mediate the dispute and on May 16 issued a statement saying that a protocol for use of the field had been agreed upon.

Under the agreement, Brooklyn Tech has priority during scheduling conflicts, but local leagues do have the right to use the field.

It remains unclear whether the protocol will resolve the dispute.

“I do not agree that the agreement has been reached,” said Byer. “I am considering legal action to prevent these bullies from ruining the only recreational outlet for the neighborhood.”

The Department of Education would not comment for this story. Neither would DeBenedetto.

“The incident is under investigation, and we cannot elaborate without compromising the investigation,” said Marge Feinberg, an Education spokeswoman.

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Reader Feedback

Parfo says:
THis soccer guy is a ——in fruitcake.... BTwar
April 17, 2009, 10:44 am
V Bender from Ft. Greene says:
First they take away the floating pool, now giving Bob's camp a hard time w/ the field he uses for soccer. What's next? Bob's camp has been a savior to the neighborhood with reasonable rates and a variety of activities he struggles to keep together. Remember, the kids are looking forward to these spaces each summer.
June 3, 2009, 8:31 am
Leslie-Ann from Clinton Hill says:
This coach is out of control and a very bad example for the teens he coaches. I first learned about his attitude problem with the not-for-profit youth organizations that have access to the field when he had his teenagers launch a football into a group of 4 - 13 yrolds... In fact the older children were less likely to be hit by the ball than were a specific group of 4-6yrolds ( among which was my daughter). When I told him whatever the problem is had a child been hit it would have been moot and he'd be in the wrong, he said "whatever, if they're here they'll get hit, so you better move, my guys are starting practice." THen he turned to his teenaged team and instructed them to start throwing the ball and pointed them down field where the young kids were. Outside of the overwhelming injury that he could cause the little ones, I wonder how the kids of his teenage team feel about their kids learning that kind of behaviour from a man who has so much access and influence in their lives. He is a not a good man, or he has some really bad issues which have taken over his life, no matter, he is out of control and must be checked. The very education system that seems to be supporting him unconditionally will end up being unconditionally liable for the harm he will inevitably cause ( to our kids or the ones he coaches).
Sept. 19, 2009, 3:38 pm
J Lynn from Bed-Sty says:
I thought they call that "endangering the welfare of a minor". There's no such thing as, "if they're, there they'll get hit", they were there first. That excuse doesn't work crossing a street a car hits someone, nor does it work here,no excuse.
Aug. 2, 2010, 8:44 pm

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