SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - A local coach with the Albion Soccer Club has been fired allegedly for texting a teenage player in violation of the club's policy.
Police investigated the nature of the text but no criminal charges were filed. Still, many parents are concerned.
CBS News 8 investigated and discovered the same coach has faced similar allegations in the past.
Tony Scheri has been a girls soccer coach for at least two decades.
He was fired in December 2017 after a texting incident involving a teenage girl on the Albion Soccer Club based in Ocean Beach.
News 8 went to Scheri’s home in Santee to try to get some answers. A News 8 producer asked Scheri if he had engaged inappropriate texting with the teenage player.
“I don’t have any comment,” Scheri responded.
Insiders say the text message in question referenced a private medical procedure the coach was undergoing.
The girl's parents found out about the text and showed it to Chula Vista police. Officers investigated but declined to seek criminal charges.
Albion Soccer Club fired coach Scheri anyway for allegedly violating the club's texting policy, which prohibits one-on-one texting between a coach and player on issues unrelated to soccer.
Upset parents started discussing the incident in an online soccer forum and identified the 50-year old coach by name.
One soccer dad agreed to speak with News 8 anonymously. He was not involved in the incident but he does have concerns.
“I think he should be outed. I don't think he should ever be allowed to coach anywhere near kids again,” said the soccer father. “There are a lot of parents who are very disturbed by the accusations at Albion but getting the information out is the challenge.”
Albion Soccer Club said it put out the following email notification on February 14 to parents whose kids were actively being coached by Scheri:
Teams Coached by Tony Scheri:
We have been made aware of rumors and speculation aired in public forums regarding the dismissal of Coach Tony Scheri. To clear the air on this, Mr. Scheri was promptly dismissed for a violation of the Club texting policy. The texting issue in question was a single event, and of a non-sexual nature. Nevertheless, we take our policies and standards very seriously, and determined this to be a violation of policy. Additionally, to follow up Mr. Scheri’s departure from the Club, the Club contacted various and appropriate league, legal, and law enforcement personnel about the violation. The Club was advised by the investigating entity, that there was no violation of statute, and the case was closed from a law enforcement standpoint. Additionally, given that there was no violation of law, the Club was informed by law enforcement, that all should be very cognizant of privacy rights and other concerns of the parties involved, including that of a minor, in perpetuating a matter that has been closed. Although Mr. Scheri is no longer with the Club, we welcome any constructive feedback or experience you may have had in this regard, or to take such matters if any exist, to the appropriate enforcement agency. We hope that this resolves the speculation on the true nature of this unfortunate matter, helps to address concerns, and avoids any inappropriate or defamatory content going forward.
“In my opinion, every kid that he (Scheri) has ever come in contact with, their parents have to be notified. I wouldn't even give it a second thought. I would notify every single one of them as soon as I knew,” said the soccer father.
News 8 has learned, this is not the first time coach Scheri has made headlines for an incident involving a teenage player.
Back in 2000, as a high school soccer coach in Brick Township, New Jersey, he was investigated by police for having an alleged inappropriate relationship with an underage player.
Again, no criminal charges were filed but Scheri ended up resigning his teaching position and moved to California.
After that, Scheri was hired by the County of San Diego and worked for eight years with abused and neglected children in the Child Welfare Services department.
About six years ago, he started coaching with Albion Soccer Club, where the current texting incident surfaced.
Again, no criminal charges were ever filed against coach Scheri in either California or New Jersey.
The Chula Vista Police Department said its investigation into the texting incident is officially closed.
Albion Soccer Club issued the following statement to News 8:
We take our policies, standards and players’ safety extremely seriously and investigate any potential Club policy violation urgently and efficiently. Upon learning of the matter, the Coach in question was promptly dismissed for a violation of the Club’s texting policy. The texting issue in question was a single event, and of a non-sexual nature.
From the first instance of being informed of this deviation from Club policy, the Club quickly worked to resolve it, including an immediate dismissal of the Coach, meeting with the family, contact with league officials at the highest levels, contact with league risk management officials on the local and national levels, and detailed communications with law enforcement.
This matter has been closed by law enforcement, as no violation of statute has been found. Additionally, given that there was no violation of law, the Club was informed and advised that all should be very cognizant of privacy rights and other concerns of the parties involved, including that of a seventeen year-old minor, in perpetuating a matter that has been investigated and closed.
In addition, the Club followed the appropriate due diligence prior to the incident in question, screening the Coach through the California Department of Justice, through the Cal South risk management system, and through US Soccer’s screening entity. In our long history in working with the community in San Diego, this was the first such occurrence of this nature. The Club has been informed by authorities that it handled this matter both swiftly and appropriately. The Club remains dedicated to the safety of our players, and serving their needs in working toward college opportunities, and in serving the greater San Diego community at large.