Response 1 for Player-Coach dispute in soccer team

01/10/1999 from
Dear Editor:

In response to the letter from Mr. Hamzah regarding his son not being allowed
to play on the Indoor Soccer Traveling Team, please allow us to voice our

Our three sons have been playing for Mr. Kolich for the past 5 years. Mr.
Kolich is one of the fairest coaches our children have ever had the
opportunity and privlege to play for. As a matter of fact, Mr. Kolich can
sometimes be almost "too fair" in the sense that each child plays in a game,
no matter how close the score. We have seen him take "key" players out to
give fair playing time to others. He not only teaches the children the skills
necessary to produce competitive teams year after year, he also stresses the
importance of sportsmanship and team playing--something all parents should be
reinforcing as well. We have never been embarrassed by the behavior of any of
our players as they represent Rutherford in any town we have played. The
children, as well as the parents, realize Mr. Kolich will not tolerate any
kind of bad sportsmanship-like behavior--nor should he have to. Mr. Kolich
has also organized the recreation programs for our sons as well as our
daughters since they began playing in the in-town program. He has addressed
any concern we have had openly and honestly while always making our children
understand his actions. We have never seen him reprimand a child without also
reaching out and explaining his actions which, in our opinion, have always
been warranted. He has always and continuously worked with all children
involved with playing more than one sport. As long as the child makes the
team aware of the other commitments, Mr. Kolich has no problem working around
other schedules. 

Mr. Kolich inherited a program of 250 children and now generates a current
program of 500 children. We have personally witnessed Mr. Kolich volunteering
countless hours of his time and expertise for the Rutherford Soccer
Program--both in-town as well as traveling. He has a dedicated coaching staff
made up of volunteers and holds soccer meetings several times a year to
discuss the happenings, questions and concerns of all involved. We have yet
to see the Hamzahs attend one of these meetings either to participate or to
voice their concerns.

What we can't understand is this: Mr. Hamzah readily admits his child has
quit the team twice (once rejoining after Mr. Kolich took the time to explain
the "goings on" of the team, to encourage him to "stick with it", and asking
him to rejoin); his son declined coming to a traveling soccer game preferring
to play at a recreation hockey game (which other children on our team were
also involved in but played both since the times did not conflict) thus
causing a shortage of players for our team; Mr. Hamzah's son cursed not only
at Mr. Kolich but also to another adult on two occasions; and Mr. Hamzah's son
has let down the entire team not showing up when needed. Mr. Hamzah is also
aware that in the event of a forfeit due to lack of players, Rutherford is
required to pay a penalty fee to the traveling program--his son's refusal to
play and not notify the team could have cost our league money--money which
should be used instead for all our children, not just for the penalty of one.
These parents cannot understand why this child should not be allowed to play
on a committed travel team? We have not heard them say that this child has
not only showed poor sportsmanship to both his fellow players as well as
coaches but has lacked moral judgement and respect when speaking to adults.
If he can't be trusted to act properly within his hometown, how can we expect
him to act properly when representing his town? What are his parents teaching
him by dragging a volunteer through unnecessary torment?

Also, the other coach who asked the child to join the team was not a "new
coach" as Mr. Hamzah suggests. Mr. DePinto has also been coaching alongside
Mr. Kolich for the same amount of time. He was aware of the circumstances
this child was not put on the team and chose to ignore them and do what he
wanted instead of doing what was right. Shame on him for not abiding by the
rules and backing the league. The Recreation Department's backing of Mr.
Kolich was not only the proper decision to make, but also the most moral one.
What are we teaching all the other children in the program if we back up this
ridiculous claim?

One more point, Mr. Editor. If Mr. Hamzah's son wanted to play on the
traveling team so badly, why wasn't he at the tryout like all the other
children? If he wanted to play soccer, why didn't he sign up for the
recreation in-town league? The Recreation Department along with Mr. Kolich
would not have prevented that. And, we can't help but notice, why wasn't Mr.
Hamzah at any of the traveling games or practices supporting his son and the

Is this really an issue of a child who eagerly admits he will not be committed
to a competitive traveling team wanting to play soccer, or of parents putting
fuel in a fire? If Mr. Hamzah feels Mr. Kolich has been doing such a lousy
job, why isn't he volunteering to coach his son or other children? This
sounds like a personal vendetta from Mr. Hamzah towards Mr. Kolich and we
honestly wonder if the child or the father is behind this attack.

Thank you for the opportunity of letting us offer our opinion.

The Cahill and Giordano Families


01/12/1999 from
Dear Editor:

When can we expect to see rebuttals to the soccer disbute letter? Are you
only accepting one-side opinions?


01/13/1999 from
To The Editor:

After logging on to this web site, we came across the article about the
Rutherford soccer coach who was prohibiting a young man from participating on
a soccer team.  As requested, here is our opinion.

We have been involved with the Rutherford soccer program since 1993.  Our son
began in the recreation program, then upon the invitation of Mr. Ken Kolich,
he tried out for a spot on a traveling team.  We presently have 2 sons
involved in the Rutherford soccer program, both with the Recreation and
Traveling teams.  It has been our privilege to be involved in these programs
and to have our sons play under the direction of Mr. Kolich.  We have found
Mr. Kolich to be an extremely fair-minded coach who stresses good
sportsmanship and commitment over winning.  His positive attitude, quiet
demeanor, and keen coaching skills, make our sons excited to go to practice.
They look forward to his critique of their skills and take his recommendations
with the highest regard.  We are proud of the way our children and their
teammates conduct themselves as representatives of Rutherford.

Mr. Kolich dedicates countless hours as the coordinator of the Rutherford
soccer program, as well as coaching several teams.  Under his direction, the
soccer program in our town has grown dramatically.  Is this because he is a
dictator and a tyrant??  We think not!  Commitment is the one thing Mr. Kolich
demands of his players.  In our opinion, Mr. Kolich has made the commitment to
Rutherford soccer, not this young man.  ALL our children are involved in
numerous activities and sometimes there are conflicts, and they must make
choices.  If this player chose another activity over soccer, the choice was
his, and in turn, so were the consequences.  Because of league rules, each
team carries a maximum number of players, and this young man took a place on a
roster which could have been given to another player with a higher level of
commitment and interest.  At the beginning of each season, there are well-
publicized evaluations for the privilege of playing on a traveling team.
Where was this young man during these evaluations?  Again, another choice he

Children must realize that the choices they make sometimes have consequences
they don't like.  They must learn that being a member of a team takes
dedication and commitment, and that the committed athlete won't let his
teammates or his coaches down by choosing another activity.  In our opinion,
Mr. Kolich is upholding the high moral standards he tries to instill in his
players by holding his head high and sticking to what he believes is right.
The Recreation Department is behind his decision, and so are we.

Kevin and Nancey McAuley