Top scorer kicked off soccer team
Sanford booted for missing 2 practices while in Mexico
One of the UA's premiere athletes yesterday confirmed that she has been kicked off her team by a new coach who isn't wasting any time in making her presence felt.
Junior Chrissy Sanford, who led the women's soccer team in goals (11) and assists (five) last season, confirmed that she was booted off the team by head coach Cathy Klein after violating terms of a new player's contract, which all players signed earlier this spring.
Klein was hired by Arizona from Iowa State in January after former head coach Lisa Fraser resigned in November. Fraser cited personal reasons for her departure, but several of her players had already signed a petition requesting her firing.
Sanford said she was kicked off the team after earning her second and third "strikes," putting her in violation of the contract. The circumstances surrounding those strikes, though, should have been given additional consideration from Klein, she said.
Sanford failed to make it back from spring break in time for the team's first two practices on Monday, March 20.
"I was stuck in Mexico waiting for my boyfriend to get out of jail," said Sanford, who transferred to the UA last season after an All-American career at Ventura Junior College in California.
Sanford's boyfriend, who lives just north of Los Angeles, was involved in a fight that landed him in a Mexican jail the night before they were to return to the United States. As a result, Sanford missed the morning practice and knowingly received a second strike.
The thing that upsets her is not this strike, but rather the third that she got for missing the 4 p.m. practice that afternoon.
"If I had come back and gone to the 4 o'clock practice, I would have been told to go home because I was suspended," she said.
"I feel it was completely unfair for them to turn this one incident into two strikes," she said.
Klein declined to comment on the reason behind Sanford's dismissal, saying only it was because of a "violation of team policies."
"We're going to focus on the kids that are here," she said. "I think team matters are private and I guess that's how I want to leave it."
Teammates of Sanford said they were disappointed to lose such a valuable asset to the team but understood Klein's motives.
"That was between her and the coach," sophomore goaltender Shannon Monti said. "She was a talented player, so it was a bummer to lose her."
Monti said each player signed the "three-strikes you're out" contract this spring so they could operate with more consistent guidelines. She said Fraser inconsistently disciplined players who broke team rules.
Sanford said making the afternoon practice that Monday would have been nearly impossible, and she had no way to get a hold of Klein to inform her about the situation.
But while the situation led to her dismissal from the team, Sanford said she somewhat understands Klein's logic, as she took over a program in complete disorder.
"(Klein) felt she had to get control of this team, and I was the example," she said.
Sanford got her first "strike" earlier this spring after showing up late for a morning practice. After that incident, she moved into the La Paz Residence Hall to avoid future tardiness.
Brett Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.