Avon teen speaks out after being fired from soccer club - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Avon teen speaks out after being fired from soccer club

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Christian Godoy speaks to Jill Konopka. (WFSB photo) Christian Godoy speaks to Jill Konopka. (WFSB photo)

An honors Avon High School student said he was fired from the athletic fields, no longer allowed to referee for the soccer club he loves and played with for many years.

Christian Godoy, 16, said he believes he lost his job because he complained about a coach he called “verbally abusive” to inexperienced teenagers like himself.

"I do feel retaliated against and that's because I blew the whistle,” Christian Godoy said.

The teen said he has no hard feelings toward Coach Corey Donlin, and said he just wants his job back, doing what he loves and making a little extra money.

"There's an issue here, no protection for these kids who are verbally abused. Not to the point of physical abuse or threat, but when verbally abused they have nowhere to go. And if try to do something about it, may end up losing their job,” said Joao Godoy.

Christian Godoy grew up playing soccer at Fisher Meadows for the Avon Soccer Club, and up until recently he made his passion part of a paycheck by refereeing for the younger players for roughly two years.

"Being that first job, I wanted to have spending money at first, and then I would save up,” he said.

He said two-and-a-half weeks ago he was told his refereeing services were no longer needed.

“For me that's a huge put down because it's my first job and they didn't say why I lost it,” Christian Godoy said.

He said the soccer organization initially no longer assigned him to call games for Coach Donlin’s team, but he said he believes he was eventually fired for complaining publicly about Donlin.

He said he has had no prior problems until last April.

"I felt threatened during the game, because he said he'd make sure I'd lose my job,” Christian Godoy said.

He added that Donlin kept questioning his calls, which he admits as a teen referee, he is inexperienced, but is trying and still learning.

"So, I stopped and just walked up to him and said that's your first warning, because I wasn't going to kick him out and start any problems. However, throughout the whole entire game, it was constant,” Christian Godoy said, adding that Donlin reportedly was making remarks about his calls.

“After I walked away that first time, saying this is your first warning, he said loudly to his assistant coach, ‘I'm going to make sure he doesn't ref any more of our games,’ so for me that was a threat,” Christian Godoy said.

Christian said he complained and called Donlin a bully.

"Who is this yelling at me, and telling me I'm doing something wrong, and it turns out he's a prison guard and I feel he used his methods that he'd intimidate prisoners, he used them on me,” Christian Godoy said.

The teen said his assistant referee felt it too, adding that "The Avon Coach Cory was very unprofessional and disrespectful to the center referee. He yelled and disagreed with several calls that the CR made during the game,” a report said.

After confiding in his father, who has long been tied to the Avon Soccer Club too, Joao Godoy told his son to forget it, but he said he supports his son for speaking up.

"I want my son to have his job back. For this experience to be for him to get his job back, and also create this awareness. There’s an awareness gab, not protected and if they decided to speak out they might be punished by their clubs. It's something just not right,” Joao Godoy said.

Donlin initially told Eyewitness News he wanted to comment for this story but he hadn’t returned phone calls or emails.

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