Sherwood soccer coach says he was fired for protecting safety of - KPTV - FOX 12

Sherwood soccer coach says he was fired for protecting safety of players

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Rian Groener (KPTV) Rian Groener (KPTV)
SHERWOOD, OR (KPTV) -

A high school soccer coach was fired after he stopped a game early after six of his players got hurt.

Sherwood's Junior Varsity team was playing Clackamas last Monday and Coach Rian Groener said it was an unusually rough game. So with just a few minutes to go, Groener canceled the game and pulled his players off the field.

Groener thought he was doing the right thing, but in return, he was fired.

"I had one kid who'd been kicked in the nose in the first half and second kid who had a hematoma on the side of his face, and you could actually see a cleat mark on it too," said Groener.

Those are just a couple of the injuries that Groener said his players had by half-time. He tried to talk to the referee but said he was ignored.

Sherwood was losing 3-to-0 but Groener wasn't worried about that. He said he was focused on his team's safety.

"Calmly talked to the referee and the other coach and say 'hey listen, there's three minutes left, I feel like the players safety's in jeopardy' and I ended the game early," said Groener.

The next day, Groener was suspended.

Two days after that, he had a meeting with Sherwood High School Principal Ken Bell, and Bell fired him for violating an OSAA rule that says: removal of a team from competition is a gross act of unsportsmanlike conduct and those responsible have to face the executive board.

Groener said he didn't know about that rule.

"The referee could've stopped the confrontations that were occurring on the field, and Rian was justified in stopping the game early."

One team parent, who only wants to be known as "Chad," fully supports Coach Groener. He was at last week's game and said Groener did what he should've done.

"I mean, it is your job as a coach to understand and know the rules of the game, but when it comes to player safety, I didn't think that was justified firing," said Chad.

"I'm not here to get my job back, but I feel there needs to be some kind of change to that rule," said Groener.

After two years at Sherwood High School and a long career coaching, Groener is disappointed, but he does not regret his decision.

"They wanted me to be remorseful and kind of say I did something wrong, but I felt like if there's player safety involved, any time, I would make that same choice again," Groener said.

Fox 12 asked the Principal Bell to speak about Groener being fired, but a district spokesperson said it is confidential, personnel issue so he is not able to comment.

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