U.S. Soccer Youth Sexual Abuse

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), known as U.S. Soccer, is the ultimate authority and national governing body for soccer in the United States. It oversees the sport at all levels, including international, professional (Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League), and amateur (youth organizations, beach soccer, futsal, Paralympic, and deaf national teams). Additionally, U.S. Soccer is responsible for appointing referees and authorizing tournaments for various soccer leagues across the country.
Youth Soccer Sexual AbuseYouth soccer sexual abuse is a very real risk for the millions of children across the United States who participate in youth soccer leagues and clubs that belong to U.S. Soccer. For many kids, soccer is a beloved pastime that teaches valuable life lessons like teamwork, perseverance, and sportsmanship. Parents trust that when they sign their children up for soccer, the adults in charge will create a safe and nurturing environment.

Sadly, this trust is sometimes violated in the most unimaginable way when coaches and other authority figures exploit their positions to sexually abuse the very children they are supposed to protect and mentor. This is a pervasive problem that has impacted far too many young lives. When this abuse occurs, the organizations that failed to implement proper safeguards must be held accountable.
USYSA and Child Sexual AbuseThe U.S. Youth Soccer Organization (USYSA) is the largest youth sports organization in the country, with over 3 million registered players. Its affiliate, the California Youth Soccer Association North (Cal North), oversees hundreds of leagues and clubs in Northern California. These entities have an immense responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the children under their care.

However, in many cases, USYSA, Cal North, and their member leagues have fallen far short of this duty. They have repeatedly allowed coaches and volunteers to interact with children without conducting thorough background checks. Shockingly, their policies have often relied on coaches' self-reporting of past criminal issues rather than proactive screening.

This negligence has enabled predators to gain easy access to children. Emanuele Fabrizio, a coach for a Cal North affiliated league, sexually abused a 12-year-old player in 2011. Had the league conducted a basic criminal background check, they would have discovered Fabrizio's prior domestic violence charge, which should have disqualified him from coaching per the league's policies. Instead, their inaction allowed a predator to devastate a child's life.

Sadly, Fabrizio's victim is far from alone. Numerous brave survivors have come forward with heartbreaking accounts of sexual abuse enabled by systemic failures of youth soccer organizations to prioritize child safety. This is an epidemic that demands urgent reform and accountability.

Background checks are a bare minimum standard that should be universal and non-negotiable for all adults working with children in any capacity. In California, state law even requires this background screening (AB 506).  Beyond that, organizations must enact and enforce strict standards around adult-child interactions, require abuse prevention training, and create safe, confidential reporting systems.

However, far too often, youth soccer organizations have viewed child safety policies as a burdensome inconvenience rather than an ethical imperative. Resistance to change is unacceptable when children's well-being is at stake. The price for organizational failure must be severe enough to force youth sports groups to make protecting kids their highest priority.Holding USYSA AccountableCerri, Boskovich & Allard play a vital role in protecting survivors of child sexual abuse and holding national governing bodies accountable. For decades, we have repeatedly taken on powerful institutions, including public schools and youth-serving organizations, to hold them accountable for ignoring predators in their midst.

In youth sports, Cerri, Boskovich & Allard has been a prominent legal force in cases against USYSA, USOC, and other national governing bodies that oversee various sports. In the Fabrizio case, Cerri, Boskovich & Allard represented the survivor in a lawsuit against USYSA and Cal North. Ultimately, they secured an $8.2 million settlement, the largest ever in a youth soccer sex abuse case.

More importantly, the case established a new standard of care in California. The California Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that it was reasonably foreseeable that a coach could sexually abuse a player, and therefore, USYSA had a legal duty to require and conduct background checks. This precedent makes it easier for future survivors to pursue justice and incentivizes organizations to strengthen their child protection policies.
Seeking Justice & HealingWhile no amount of money can heal the trauma of sexual abuse, civil lawsuits are often the only means for survivors to hold enablers accountable, force reform, and access the resources they need to rebuild their lives. The attorneys at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard understand the unique challenges facing childhood sexual abuse survivors and handle their cases with great compassion, care, and discretion.

Coming forward to report sexual abuse in youth sports takes immense courage. Survivors often face disbelief, blame, and pressure to stay silent—many survivors struggle for years or decades with misplaced shame and self-doubt. Survivors must know that the abuse was not their fault, that they deserve justice, and that there are allies ready to stand with them.

If you or someone you love has suffered sexual abuse by a youth soccer coach, you do not have to suffer in silence any longer. We are here to listen to your story, explain your legal options, and fight tenaciously on your behalf. Your privacy will be protected, and you will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Contact Cerri, Boskovich & Allard today for a free, confidential consultation.

Client Reviews

“Working with CBA has been a truly remarkable experience. They exude genuineness, openness, and transparency, transforming a challenging situation into a positive one. Lauren, in particular, consistently displayed empathy, ensuring a comfortable and safe environment throughout.”

Jane Doe v. San Francisco Unified School District

Jane Doe

“Every step of the way, Lauren gave me hope when I felt hopeless, and she gave me help when I felt helpless. Lauren was the attorney who I knew was in my corner, and she will undoubtedly continue to be in the corner of survivors to hold their abuser and institution accountable.”

Jane Doe 2 v. East Side Union High School District

Jane Doe 2

“What happened to me needed to be addressed. I missed out on such an important part of my life, while my institution made no qualms. You don’t get to push kids under a rug. I’m glad I was given an opportunity to address my broken life.”

Jane Doe v. Saratoga–Los Gatos Union High School District

Jane Doe
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