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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 5 years ago

Soccer club supportive after coaching director fired

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Jeff Allen was arrested for battery and cocaine possession and was quickly fired by the Ormond Beach Soccer Club’s board of directors.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

The Ormond Beach Soccer Club’s board of directors made a quick decision to fire its director of coaching, following his arrest for possession of cocaine and battery.

Jeff Allen was fired Jan. 24, three days after his Jan. 21 arrest, and the soccer club’s parents were notified of the firing in a letter from the board of directors.

“In order to protect the safety and welfare of our kids and the soccer club,” the letter said, “the board elected to immediately terminate Jeff Allen from his position as director of coaching.”

In addition to firing Allen, the soccer club removed his access to the club’s website and other various soccer-related accounts, as well as changed all of the locks at the clubhouse, the soccer offices and the soccer storage areas at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, the letter said.

“It was stupid, that’s about it,” said Mike Staley, whose daughter plays in club’s Wave program and is a junior on the Seabreeze girls soccer team. “I never had any concerns about Jeff being around the kids.”

Allen and his girlfriend got into an argument at the Texaco gas station, at 5 S. Yonge St., Jan. 21, over who was going to drive home, since both had been drinking, according to the police report.

After interviews with Allen and his girlfriend, police say he became upset that she was driving after the two of them had left The Black Sheep Pub and Eating House, 890 S Atlantic Ave., where they had dinner.

His girlfriend told police the argument became increasingly intense, and led to Allen striking her on the right side of her face.

After police arrested Allen for battery, they searched him and found “a small plastic bag with less than a gram of white powder substance,” which, according to the report, tested “presumptively positive” for cocaine.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow,’ that a person in that position, with that role and especially (dealing) with children, would let his personal life get that way,” said Gloria Wyatt, a Florida Youth Soccer Association district commissioner, former Ormond Beach Soccer Club president and parent of a former Wave player.

Wyatt said she was with the soccer club when it made the decision to hire Allen in 2010, a move she wasn’t in favor of, but not for personal reasons.

“Jeff is excellent at training on the field,” she said. But still, she was hesitant because of his lack of administrative experience.

“He needed to go,” Staley said. “It seems like they took care of it as soon as possible. (They) took away his access, cut him off from the (soccer club’s) community.”

Wyatt said she fully supported the actions of the board and Steve Haas, the soccer club’s current president, and said there were enough capable people around the program to keep it headed in the right direction.

The board of directors is in the early stages of naming a replacement.

“We are not going to let the poor decisions made by one person define who we are,” the board’s letter to parents said. “There are too many talented players, coaches, parents and volunteers who have invested countless hours of their time to let this one incident define our club.”

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