A respected Southern California girls soccer coach with a longtime winning record was ousted from her position following the 2018 season for uncertain, murky reasons. In the end, the only rationale she was given was that, “the girls didn’t have enough fun.”
As reported by the South Pasadena Review, a weekly newspaper in the Los Angeles area, former Division 5 girls soccer coach of the year Tory Lathrop of South Pasadena was ousted from her role following the past season. The two-time defending Rio Hondo League champion coach was stunned that her contract was not renewed, and when pushing for more information about the decision she was told only that her players didn’t enjoy playing for the program.
That only became more confusing when the coach reached out to her players and was told, overwhelmingly, that they did enjoy playing for her.
“I think it was just a series of events that … to me, was not handled in the most professional way,’’ Lathrop told the Review. “I don’t feel I was given an opportunity to make any changes or address any concerns. I would have been happy to have a parent meeting. …
“To me, the majority of parents were happy with what we were doing (and) their kids were happy with what we were doing.’’
According to Lathrop, she was told of the school’s decision to go in another direction at a meeting with then-athletic director Greg Luna and school principal Janet Anderson. Lathrop said Luna made no comments during the meeting, which she described as disappointing because of their prior working relationship; Luna was also dismissed as athletic director shortly after the school year.
What makes Lathrop’s non-renewal so surprising is the overwhelming success she enjoyed while leading the program. In three years at the school, Lathrop’s team captured the two aforementioned Rio Hondo League titles and recorded a winning record in all three seasons. Her program was emerging as one of the class outfits in Southern California.
Yet the thing that Lathrop is most bothered by is the allegation that the team as a whole was disappointed in the way it functioned, something she tried to build around a communal conversation.
“In my 15 years of being a high school, college and club coach, I don’t think you can quantify a program based on the amount of fun that a kid may or may not be having.
“I get it, the parents are very involved, the players want to be involved in some of the decision-making, and I was open to that – I made sure that we had a great leadership group on both the JV and varsity teams, that they had an open line of communication with the coaches. That was something that was really big to me,” Lathrop told the Review.
“So I think that if it had been the majority of the group not having quote-unquote ‘any fun,’ we would have heard about it a lot earlier and we would have addressed that as a staff and sat down with the parents and things like that, and that just never happened.’’