The Idaho Juniors Football Club is walking away with a win on and off the pitch. The youth soccer team shut out the Idaho Rush Saturday morning in front of a packed crowd. Their victory comes days after the coach discovered a racist letter on his windshield. The hate mail, slamming the young team, and telling the coach to "Be careful." A police report was filed, and the letter left the young players feeling upset, but they're not letting it get in the way of the beautiful game.
"That makes us stronger, and we want to win even more we're all about family, friendship, and loyalty and we're all nice to each other," said a group of players after the game.
A day before Saturday's match, coaches and parents sat down with the players to confront hate speech. The coach told his team to give racism the red card. If they see or experience it, let others know and don't let it bring them down. One parent tells 6 On Your Side it was a conversation he never thought would happen in the realm of youth sports.
"I told him sometimes people are weak in mind and told him those things shouldn't don't let it get to you man just be strong about it," said Jose Loza who's son plays on the team.
At the end of the game, their opponents gave Idaho Junior's head coach the game ball signed by all of their players to show solidarity. The Idaho Youth Soccer Association says they have a zero tolerance for racism and if the author of the letter is a member of the state's soccer community, they will face the organization's judicial and ethics committee.
"Ultimately anytime there is hate and racism there should be consequences, and I think that it needs to be very clear in the regulations," said Idaho Juniors Head Coach Jeromy Tarkon.
The team is also fundraising to fight hate in Idaho. They've already raised more than $ 2,800 and plan to donate the money to local charities that help fight racism.