MVRHS soccer coach suspended

Suspension follows altercation between student athletes and official.

Coach John Walsh, pictured here in 2016. – MVT file photo

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys soccer coach John Walsh has been suspended for the first two games of next season following an altercation between two student soccer players and a sports official.

The two students, whom the school is not naming, have been suspended from playing sports after shoving and verbally assaulting the official during the final playoff game of the season against Norwell on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The students face unspecified disciplinary action from the school as well. 

According to MVRHS athletic director Mark McCarthy, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) issued a decision on suspending Walsh, but did not describe the exact reason why he was being suspended.

“The decision was issued almost immediately after the incident with the two athletes, so it is most definitely associated,” McCarthy said during a phone call. “The coach is responsible for their team. They must keep control of the players and those on the sidelines.”

In a phone call, Assistant Principal Jeremy Light read a statement from the school to The Times regarding the MIAA decision. “We received the MIAA decision; it seems fair and appropriate,” Light said.

Light said the school values civility and proper behavior, both on and off the field.

McCarthy said the school is working with the MIAA to address any further issues surrounding sportsmanship for both varsity and junior varsity teams.

“We are going to fully engage with the MIAA and their stipulations, and make all necessary improvements to the soccer team and every other team,” McCarthy said. 

According to McCarthy, good sportsmanship and field etiquette are values that the school “works at constantly,” and he said the athletics program has always held high standards for behavior. “We as a community will try to increase sportsmanship through all sports,” McCarthy said.

Light said the school will not be appealing the MIAA decision, and Walsh will be able to coach throughout the preseason.


  1. ok…..not sure why he could be responsible for the young men’s actions, the clip you see on the news about the altercation, it seems to have happened pretty fast. I don’t think the coach knew in advance these guys were going to do what they did. Yes, I understand that he is responsible for the team but he didn’t raise these young men.

  2. This is unreal. Why would the coaches be responsible for the actions of these two students. Why aren’t their parents held responsible? Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

  3. This coach had about as much control over his players on field transgressions as the football coach had over his players off field transgressions 2 years ago . Was the football coach disciplined ?

    • Not sure about the situation with the football coach but both the girls field hockey and lacrosse coaches were suspended for the off field actions of players so this seems more than appropriate for a far worse offense by players.

  4. This is the new normal, this is what liberalism and socialism create a system where faceless bureaucrats dictate how you must behave and the media uses shame to validate it. There is only one side to the story the media does no real research, political correctness makes the rules and your guilty. The race to the bottom has begun, this is what happens when you don’t learn history. Simple answers for complex issues welcome to the future learn to march or pay the price.

    • (Trump, who has no shame, is leading the race to the bottom, and his supporters have followed, either trying to excuse or to ignore it entirely. Imagine our kids bullying the decent, innocent people and emulating a lying, corrupt, racist slob in power.) That said, the coaches are responsible for what their players do on the field, just as parents are responsible for the damage their kids do. If a dog attacks and does damage, guess who is responsible, even though it was the dog that did the deed? Fair play and decency are as important to coaching a team as is physical field practice.

    • old man– do you never get tired of just automatically blaming the “liberals” for everything ?
      You have no idea what type of household these kids grew up in.
      One thing that is pretty clear. Parents, liberal or conservative do not encourage their children to physically attack sports referees.

    • This actually looks like a Russian bot comment. It makes absolutely no sense and throws out words like “liberalism” and “socialism” to make some kind of nonsensical Fox News argument. Scary.

      • tennis— you actually seem to have a valid point. I wonder if George has any way of verifying that the commenters here are actual humans– clearly, some of the comments here are beyond the pale of normal social mores.

  5. If it can be shown that the coach has overtly pressured the players to be aggressive beyond the pale, he should be suspended for the willful malfeasance of the players. If his temperament does not indicate this he should get a pass.

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