My friend Jack Turner's accusations that Durango High School soccer coach Scott Emrich used his position to financially enrich himself are completely out of line (Herald, Feb. 25).
This is a coach, who for years has devoted himself to creating teams of young men who conduct themselves like gentlemen and compete at the highest level in Colorado soccer.
He requires his players to have a higher grade point average than the athletic department requires. He donates many off-season evenings to supervise indoor soccer games, where players can keep their skills up and have fun.
He donates his time to Durango Youth Soccer Association and travels to tournaments with young players at his own expense.
Emrich has worked with Fort Lewis coaches at their camps. The decision to create his own was based on a desire to give local players more opportunities to learn the game. He considers himself lucky to cover expenses.
Bringing Andy McDermitt, a former youth coach with the English Premier League team Arsenal, to the Four Corners gave local players an opportunity few ever receive. McDermitt is an internationally known coach who does what he does for the love of the game. Nobody travels from England to get rich in Durango coaching soccer for a week.
For years, many Demons have attended soccer camps all over the country to hone the skills they were trying to develop. These camps are expensive and require airfare and expensive travel costs. By bringing
McDermitt to Durango, Emrich eliminated those costs. It took a lot of effort and organization. Emrich should be thanked for it, not condemned.
It is also absolutely false that players who attended Emrich's camps were given preferential treatment. The players who work the hardest, adhere to the athletic code and play the best represent Durango on the field. They earn it. Emrich has been a successful coach and mentor. Many of his players have gone on to play in college and all have gained life skills because of his dedication. Durango is lucky to have him as a teacher, coach and role model.
Jackson Clark, Durango