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Richard

Loud boisterous parents cheering for their kids never heard of that before at a youth sporting event. I do believe you are embellishing a tad. Write what you want, there were no documented complaints from referees. It appears you are more upset with the sidelines than the events on the field. I was present at every single game and have never seen anything that even comes close to your accounts; your statements seem very self serving?

Funny Thing, one of our loud Raptor moms who's very talented son used to play for Lamorinda. I bet no one complained about her being loud then.

TA

We have similar teams like that in Southern California. A few years ago the North County Barbarian teams were speaking in Tongan and head hunting the opposing teams better players. It is a coached behavior and unfortunately for them some of us speak Togan. Even worse, it's So Cal Youth Rugby presidents club!

Huey

The Van Tonders have earned their bad name. Raptor Rugby parents, to have your club survive, please understand that there are such people as sociopaths. They lie so easily and it flows so easily from the mouth that it seems so true. The level of narcissism and self-importance that they reach makes it easy for them to lie...there is no remorse. The Van Tonders are well-known in our community for their lies and bad behavior. Whether it is Wes Sr yelling to his on-field son in Afrikans to do bad things to his opponents or yelling at the refs or opposing parents, intimidating with his posture, stance and looks...And ask Wes Jr how his Central Washington rugby career ended...well, he'll just tell you a bunch of lies, so why bother? Suffice to say, he was a disgrace with tremendous lack of character. Yeah, maybe they have you fooled for now, but these are not good role-models for your kids.

Stunned at a very Mis-informed news report

Hey Lies (your name is fitting as you are telling and spreading lies without any real facts and evidence. Just like the evidence-less accusations put on the raptor club, Van Tonders, players, coaches and parents.) As a raptor coach I was approached many times by the referee after games with high praise for our boys and thier safe and sportsmen-like play. Ya they played with a high intensity but that's nothing myself or any other coach taught them. They naturally had it in them. In many cases myself and other coaches pulled our best players that the other teams were having trouble tackling and when the score was getting out of control. And as mentioned we had no yellow or red cards due to un safe play or any other reason. Not quite 'thuggish' huh? We taught them how to play the game correctly and safe. Low and safe tackles where taught from the very beggining and continued to be preached by coaches all season long. The same cannot be said of other teams as I witnessed too many clothes line tackles and unsafe play to even want to remember. Also witnessed punches and kicks from opposing teams and continued to preach to our kids to not retaliate and they never did. Very proud of them for that!! The fact that you act like you know everything about our organization like you were there and all knowing is absurd! Our kids instantly had a passion and love for the game that made it an honor for me to coach them. Dispite about ninety percent of our team being first year players (no we didnt steal players from Diablo! The only players that came from that team came from Fouts when he joined our organiaztion after being fired from Diablo) I knew our kids had the talent to succed and let them know that. Fouts however felt the need to make the kids feel they would lose the majority of thier games to more 'seasoned' teams. Therefore he was fired for the SECOND time from the raptors (and before that he was fired from other clubs). He kept his kid in the program for a bit until his kid lost his starting spot (due to being outplayed. And in one instance removed himself from the game cause he "just felt like it" and didn't even tell any coach). At that point he took his kid elsewhere and started spreading lies. As was mentioned earlier when the raptors played Fout's kid's new team the kids saw him and started joking about hitting him hard. This type of talk was stopped by coaches and the kids were told to hit hard but safe hits just like they should on any other player. And yes this is rugby fellow, there are hard hits. I think any parent who enrolled thier kid in this sport knows this beforehand!! But what wasn't mentioned is that many of the players on the raptors go to school with Fout's kid and are friends with him. They wanted to play hard against thier schoolmate and friend. Thats boys being boys. The greatest evidence of this is during the after game huddle of the two teams there was post game awards. Each team gives two Man of the Match' awards to the opposing team, one for a forward and one for a back. (award recipeients are chosen by our teams captions) Usually this award is given to the opposing teams best players that day. However on this day our team captions choose to give Fout's son and another ex raptor player the awards, despite Fout's son being a sub who only played a little bit during the A-side game and the other ex player having not even played in the A-side game in which the awards were for (and the game in which he was supposedly 'bountied') The other coaches and I applauded our captions on honoring thier ex-teammates, schoolmates and friends. We thought it was very good sportsmenship and very classy. And now to see that a so called 'anonymous' letter (that is clearly a last ditched effort by a fired coach) and a poorly done news story filled with many lies and speculation has ruined that day and moment disgusts me! That was a great day for the raptor organization that lead to a great season for our boys. It was a well earned win against a club that had been around for about 60 years. And for our first year club filled with first year players to win was a testament to how hard our kids had worked at practice. But it has become clear that opposing 'established' clubs didn't exactly like being beat by a first year club and joined Fout's in his slander. This is very sad to me seeing as every opposing coach had nothing but kind and positive words about our boys after matches. Seems like I was lied to my face by these coaches as they then went and complained with false statements. Also to wrap this all up here are some truths on the matter that where missed (or ignored for the purpose of making a better news story). There is no 'summer' season that we missed due to termination. Rugby is played in the late winter early spring. NCYRA made the judgement on raptor rugby without approval of its governing body USA Rugby. They also clearly made thier ruling even before the 'hearing' with raptor rugby where they layed out the charges. (proof of this is that our kids were being teased by opposing teams players about the ruling before it was even officially made! As in other teams and thier players knew what the ruling was before the 'hearing' was finished! Also other team's coaches where contacting our players to recruit them before the ruling was made. Clearly the ruling and punishments were made before the 'hearing'! I put the '' on 'hearing' cause it cannot in any lawful way actually be called one! Charges were layed out despite no evidence and when the Van Tonders attempted to defend themselves and thier club and ask for proof or cross examine the accusers they were promptly denied and told to be quiet by the 'mediator' (shouldn't be called a mediator as he was known by everyone to be a friend of a high ranking NCYRA official and connected with an accusing club! Not quite a 3rd party mediator at all!) After this clearly unlawful hearing the Raptor club saw no other remaining option but to retain a lawyer. It was at this point the lawyer told the Van Tonders not to speak about the issue until the upcoming court proceedings are finished. (hence the lack of response from the Van Tonders in the news video and very smart on thier end) it was at this point that the Head of USA rugby (yes the head guy in charge of all rugby in USA) contacted the Van Tonders saying he had just heard of the situation for the first time and apologized for the way it was handled and promising he would personally look into the situation and hold a new hearing in the matter. He asked the Van Tonders not to go to the press for he didn't want any bad press about youth rugby. (thanks for messing that up Fouts) and he meant bad press on how NCYRA had treated a club and it's associates not the bad press that came from this bogus news report! To sum it all up the hearing was held and all charges (I repeat ALL charges were dropped) Raptor rugby was re-established without missing a game and our coaches suspension was fully dropped. Appearantly an actually lawful hearing that requires proof and evidence and doesn't listen to accusations and hearsay and has an actual 3rd party mediator found no wrong doing on the part of raptor rugby and it's coaches. It's a shame that a Mis-informed news report and a disgruntled ex coach can lead to kids being called 'thugs' and coaches being called 'racist' and 'scum'! Trust me our raptor players are some of the best young men I have met and it was a honor to coach them! And our coaches and parents are some of the nicest caring people I have met and it's an honor to be part of this organization with them!! And trust me we will be back next year because our players and thier parents know the truth and love this organization. And as for boy cotting games against the raptors- C'mon man let the kids play and have fun! Don't let a Mis-informed news article affect the kids. Isn't that what it's all suppose to be about?! Well at least that's what I thougt until Grown men let thier egos affect it by falsely accusing thier old club and the first year club that beat them. Oh and these accusations made against the club they had grown to love made many young boys cry! As did one opposing teams parent from yelling at our players from the sidelines!! Hope you accusers are happy! Oh and that same game the 'ref' (who wasn't certified to ref and was a part of the opposing teams organization) told our teams caption who was asking the ref to watch offsides on the other team to "shut up and play". This was a grown man talking to a 13 yr old! Sounds like its refs abusing the kids not the other way around. Shame

Thomas Evans

@Gerrypalmer actually, during a game against lamorinda, one of the players was red carded. and when the raptor team was supposed to be only with 14 players due to the red card, they played 16 players.

Stunned at a very Mis-informed news report

Very false Evans. I remember the exact situation you speak of. The player was never red carded. He was fustrated with a call (which happens in any sport on any team) and us coaches called him out to take a breather putting in a sub, one sub! We had 15 on the feild. I remember the confusion on the other team. Not raptors fault the opposing team doesn't know the difference between a red card send off and a substitution.

pierre

Hey LADIES, get a grip on reality. I attended every game my son played and NEVER saw any misconduct of any kind by Raptor players except for one late tackle in a game and the Coaches immediately pulled the player and talked to him about it. Comments by players taken out of context about "lets get him" are just that. My son enjoyed his experience with the Raptor Football Club.

Lie

I am a team player Of raptors. I think that this is the worst lie i could ever hear from a newsman. Our coach would never take an idea from an nfl team and use it to hurt another player of rugby. We love the sport dearly and would never do that. I asked everybody on the team about this matter and no person got paid or recieved anything. I am disappointed in this case because it is a lie.

jfouts

First, I do not do anything anonymously. Unlike the Van Tonders, I have never felt the need to hide my actions. Secondly, when their actions come to light, the Von Tonders use misinformation and character assassination in an attempt to bully people off the field to remain quiet or discredit them. Finally, if you're going to make statements regarding why I left coaching the Raptors and the club, you should at least use facts. The following is the email I sent the Von Tonders. Our family did nothing to the Van Tonders. Their egos are what motivated them to place a bounty on the heads of two children and that's crazy. Everything else they do regarding this matter is to distract from the FACT they placed bounties on two children. That fact was confirmed during the NCYRA conference call.

Here's the email:

Subject: Let me know
From: John Fouts
Date: January 15, 2012 1:31:08 PM PST
To: Wesley Van Tonder, Wes Van Tonder, Andrew Hayes

Wesley, Wes, and Andrew

At this point, I am assuming there is no meeting tonight, but if there was, I would say… I’m looking forward to our meeting tonight. Prior to starting the meeting I wanted to get clarification of our primary goal. Is it winning or mastery?

Belinda’s email stated, “we play to win but not at all cost.” Winning is a funny concept because what exactly is a winner? I think there are two kinds. One type is the team that wins games and we want to be that kind of winner. We want to work as hard as we can to win as many games as we can. The other type involves attitude and affects everything you do in life. To be a winner, we need to act like winners, and a winner is someone who is working for mastery of whatever activity they are doing.

I want to see the Raptor’s work toward mastery, which takes effort, learning, and mistakes and isn’t defined by winning. Winning becomes a byproduct of pursuing mastery. I want our players to learn how to achieve mastery at anything they set their mind to. It comes down to coaching our players in a manner so they can reach their full potential both as players and young men. This process has three elements: effort, learning, and mistakes. This process is what I focus on when I coach, not winning.

Effort. We want to give our best effort every time we come out on the field. I am more concerned about our team putting forward their best effort than whether they win. What I like most about this message, is that it takes the focus off of what call a ref might make or what team we are playing and keeps the team focused on the things that count

Learning. We want to continue learning and improving every week in practice and every time we play a game. If we continue to learn and give our best effort, we will get better and winning will take care of itself. This lesson is more important than whether or not we are better than an opposing team. It places an emphasis on variables we can control and actively teach on a weekly basis.

Mistakes. Most people think mistakes are bad, but they’re part of the learning process. You can’t learn something as complicated as rugby if you are afraid to make a mistake. Players who are afraid to make mistakes become timid and don’t respond to what’s in front of them because they’re thinking they don’t want to make a mistake. I want our players to know that it is okay to make a mistake but we’ll use them as opportunities to learn.

If the primary goal of the club is to help our players reach their full potential, then effort, learning, and mistakes are part of the process we must encourage, and winning WILL be a byproduct of that process. When we place winning as our primary goal, everything else becomes secondary and we lose valuable opportunities to teach our players what they need to do become the best they can be.

I want to be absolutely respectful here and would have preferred to discuss this tonight. Unfortunately, that’s difficult when coaches just walk away during a discussion, prefer to have sidebar discussions, and show a general lack of respect. You guys know my coaching style and asked me to coach. I’m here as a coach because you needed help with the forwards and organizing practices. I’ve said this since August, when I sat at the Van Tonder’s kitchen table discussing whether we were a good fit…I don’t coach winning…. I coach process, which is my term for mastery. It is a core value of mine, which I mentioned this summer. Everyone agrees with the statement that we “play to win but not at all cost.” The question is…. do they mean it? I’m telling you the actions I see and the words I hear are different. I’ve tried to discuss this with both of my fellow coaches and we’re not on the same page. So let’s be honest here and avoid the…. “well they’re equally important.” What is our primary goal? If it’s winning, do you really think I’m the right guy to coach? If it’s mastery, then shouldn’t I hold you accountable to our primary goal?

Regarding yesterday: This team will be a top team just based on their level of talent. The backs looked awesome! Yes, they did get sucked in a bit and support could improve, but with 80% of those kids having played less than 20 hours of rugby, they were awesome. The forwards were even surprising. I think we only had a couple of penalties around the breakdown, which means they learned from Friday’s practice. Two areas I would continue to focus on are the ruck and set piece. Players need to understand if the ruck hasn’t been established they can pick up the ball and go. On another note, coaches, you set examples for the players. We will most likely be getting refs that have competency issues all season. Coaches need to use their captains to communicate concerns or questions. They also need to remember that when they are critical of a ref, the players hear it and it carries over to the field and parents. Belinda’s email said we should respect the referee….is that all referees or just the competent ones? That was the ref’s first game since being certified two weeks ago and we were very tough on him. Think about it, this is the lowest level that makes sense where refs can learn their skills… By the way, this is why winning as a primary goal convolutes what we’re trying to accomplish. So there you go….

Thanks and let me know if I have a job after reading this…. I've accepted plans with friends and will be heading out ... and if we're going to have a meeting later this week let me know (Tuesdays don't work for me). Until, this is settled, Andrew or Wes should develop the week's practice plans, but this issue needs to be addressed so communication is consistent and clear amongst player and coaches.

Respectfully,

John Fouts

Belinda van Tonder

Hi, this is Belinda van Tonder, I have really tried to stay out of all of this, but, I would like to share the entire conversation between John's post the balance of the responses. Now you make up your mind......

Wesley's response below with TWO more responses from John that he omitted to include!

On Jan 15, 2012, at 2:01 PM, Wesley Van Tonder wrote:

John,

You continuously undermine what OUR goal and vision is for this organization. I want you to understand that this club has gotten this far because of involvement of multiple people that bring a positive outlook to OUR goal. We understand what you are trying to say, but because of your continuous issues with our coaching and vision, it is obvious that you are not the right fit. Our club vision and coaching style is obviously working.

The issue about the statement made to the kids on Friday night has been resolved. We installed into the kids that with the hard work they put in at practice they will walk off the field as winners, which they all did with smiles on their faces. According to positive coaching we need to keep our players excited to play for us. Play to win, but not all costs is definitely working for us.

The reason I had asked you to come and ASSIST in our coaching of the U-14's forwards, is simply because of the number to coach ratio. We tried to make it work so that it would be easier for us, but because of the complaints of parents and coaches and yourself it is not going to work.

I feel you are applying way too much psychology and over thinking a very FUN AND SIMPLE, MEDIAL PROCESS. You constantly feel that your job is in jeopardy. So I am going to make this easy. Please return our coaches shirt and we can continue our separate ways. Constant negativity and criticism is not what we need from a coach, especially as a first year organization. We want to thank you for all the help last week with the U-14's.

Please do not take the time to reply to this in any way as I GET IT!

Respectfully,

RAPTOR RUGBY

FIRST RESPONSE:

From: John Fouts
To: Wesley Van Tonder
Sent: Sun, January 15, 2012 2:46:35 PM
Subject: Re: Let me know

Hey Wes,
I appreciate it. No worries... I agree I'm not a good fit with the coaching style, that's why I brought it up so we could resolve this in a friendly upfront manner. Like I said, you guys have a great team and I will personally return the shirt and jacket tomorrow so I can shake your hand, as well as the others coaches, and hope there is no hard feelings between us... at least I hope not :-). Ultimately, this is about the kids and I want what's best for them and the organization. I hope everyone will be as respectful regarding myself (please remember I have a 2 son's involved and know a lot of the parents) and will continue on my part to say outstanding things regarding the club and everyone concerned. Thanks again for the quick response and have a great day. See you tomorrow night.

Best of luck and continued success this year. GO RAPTORS!!!

John Fouts

SECOND RESPONSE: 11 MINUTES LATER

From: John Fouts
To: Wesley Van Tonder
Sent: Sun, January 15, 2012 2:57:47 PM
Subject: Re: Let me know

Wes,
I really meant what I said. I know you guys have done a great job and you guys have a great team!!! I'm hoping we can remain friends. You and Belinda have a great family and wonderful kids. I respect what you guys have done and next year will volunteer for simple things like helping out with registration, field set-up, etc. I'd like to buy you a beer some time to say thank you so you know (man to man) I am still with you and respect your efforts. If anything, I'm upfront brother and hope you can appreciate that. BTW... please pass along again my compliments to your son for the wonderful job he's done with the backs. They were extremely enjoyable to watch yesterday and know you will dominate this season. Let me know about the beer.

JF

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I saw Van Tonder mow his lawn one time. Exemplary character - total class act. No way he posted bouties on those kids. Loved his tattoos.

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