Excerpted from the Orange County Register story by Scott M. Reid

In 2005, U.S. Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports organization, conducted a survey of its 55 state associations on background checks of coaches, club employees and volunteers.

USYSA asked the state associations if they conducted background checks and if so how often and who was checked? The survey also asked state officials if they had any “National Policy/Legislation Suggestions,” according to USYSA documents obtained by the Southern California News Group.

“Make one,” wrote Gary Lynch, Maryland official.

USYSA’s lack of nationwide policy requiring mandatory background checks is at the heart of a lawsuit filed against the Texas-based organization by a former Bay Area player who was sexually abused at ages 12 and 13 in by her club coach who was hired by the club despite a prior conviction for domestic violence.

At the time of the coach’s hiring, Cal North, the USYSA-sanctioned governing body of clubs in northern California did not require background checks, so the coach’s 2007 domestic violence conviction went undetected.

A mediation hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the case filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. Cal North settled its suit in the case for $1.7 million.
USYSA chief executive officer Christopher Moore and the organization’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

USYSA boasts 3 million players nationwide. The organization states that 300,000 coaches and 600,000 officials, employees and volunteers are connected to USYSA sanctioned clubs.

In the fall of 2010, five years after USYSA’s nationwide survey, three years after his domestic violence conviction, Emanuele Fabrizio was hired by a Bay Area club to coach girls teams. At the time of his hiring and again in July 2011, Fabrizio answered “no” to questions on a club risk management form if they had been convicted of a crime on a person or a violent crime.

You can read the full story here.