The coach of a Fairfax County team of 12-year-olds whose invitation to a Canadian soccer tournament was withdrawn because three-team members are girls said he has decided to enter the team in a Long Island tournament instead.
Nelson McAvoy, coach of the Little River Soccer Association's Cougars, said he felt no good would come of contesting the sex discrimination issue with the organizers of the Oakville (Ont.( International Tournament, scheduled for July 1 through 3.
Instead, the Cougars will play in the North Babylon, L.L., tournament the same weekend.
"There's no point in fighting a losing battle when it's only going to hurt the Little River club," McAvoy said.
He said he felt other teams from Fairfax County or elsewhere in the Washington area might not be welcome at future Canadian tournaments if he pressed the issue.
There are three all-boy teams from suburban Virginia and Maryland entered in the same peewee division of the Canadian tournamentr in which the Courgars would have played. McAvoy said he has recommended to the Canadians that all-boy Rockville squad fill his team's spot.
The organizers of the tournament have said that teams with girls would not be allowed to play because of the rules of the international ruling body of soccer "clearly dictate that there shall be no play between boys and girls."
One recourse open to the Virginians would be to lodge a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. A human rights officer there, Callie Bell, said the commission "would be prepared to take a complaint" on the matter and noted that a ruling allowing joint participation of boys and girls was made in a similar case involving softball teams in Ontario.
McAvoy said he doubted he would appraoch the commission because he did not strain relations between the Canadians and Northern Virginians.
Parents of the Courgars said they were determined that the entire team would stay together, regardless of where played, although several said they are disappointed that the team won't get to play in the oakville tournament. Local soccer officials have said the Canadian tournament should be one of the better youth tournaments in North America.
"I sort of thought it was unfortunate that the boys couldn't get the experience of playing in the tournament in Canada," said Mary Lou Reed, whose daughter Lisa, is a regular on the team.
And what does Lisa think about going to Long Island?
"Well, I think it's great that they will accept boys and girls on the same team," Lisa said. "Maybe . . . they (the Canadians) were afraid we'll win."