Chicago Fire junior coach accused of fondling, grooming players

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CHICAGO — A soccer coach for the Chicago Fire junior league has been arrested for inappropriately touching and interacting with the teenage girls he coached.

Prosecutors said Fernando Calderon, 49, was charged with felony aggravated sex abuse and indecent solicitation of a minor.

Prosecutors said between 2017 and 2018 he inappropriately interacted with three female players on his team. Prosecutors said in one case he offered to have sex with a 14-year-old. In another incident he rubbed a player’s breasts in a one on one training session. He had asked her not to wear a bra to practice. He told a third player he wanted to massage her and showed her a pornographic video.

The Chicago Fire sent parents a letter this week explaining what happened and offering to meet with parents who have concerns.

They released a statement Monday that said:

The welfare of our players is our primary concern and top priority. When we became aware of the accusations, we took immediate action. The coach was suspended and ordered to stay away from our players, staff and facilities. All proper authorities were informed and the parents of our players were notified about the situation. We have since dismissed the coach. We have always maintained strict personnel safeguards including rigorous background checks, safe sport training, implementation of a code of conduct and guidelines governing interactions with minors. Nevertheless, we will reexamine our policies, practices and training to ensure we are fostering a positive and safe environment for every young player throughout our system.

The club has fired the coach. They said even though they always run background checks they are re-examining their policies to make sure their players are as safe as possible. Calderon is due be back in court Tuesday.



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