Leonetti’s assistant coach ‘heartbroken’

Butch Pollard, the president of the Eastside Timbers club soccer club in Oregon City, June 13, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Butch Pollard, the president of the Eastside Timbers club soccer club in Oregon City, June 13, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — The president of the Eastside Timbers was also the assistant coach to a man now accused of sexually abusing one of his 12-year-old players, and he said he never saw any inappropriate behavior.

Joseph Leonetti in court
Joseph Leonetti makes his first appearance in Clackamas County court, as seen here on an in-court camera June 13, 2013. He’s facing  charges alleging that he sexually abused a 12-year-old club soccer player. (KOIN 6 News, Clackamas County Court)

Joseph Leonetti was in court Thursday on five counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Leonetti, 43, once played professional soccer with the Seattle Sounders. He also played for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1992 to 1996 and with the Seattle Sounders.

At the time of Leonetti’s arrest he was the coach of a youth club soccer team in Oregon City. The alleged incident did not happen at a practice or a soccer event.

The office of the Eastside Timbers club soccer team, June 13, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
The office of the Eastside Timbers club soccer team, June 13, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

Club president Buth Pollard said the allegations are deeply troubling and hard for him to believe.

“Heartbroken. Not just for him but for the girl because I coached her, too,” Pollard said. “How in the world do you possibly put these pieces back together again? What could we as an organization have done differently?”

Pollard said a team meeting is scheduled for Thursday night with the players and their parents to talk about the incident.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said there may be more victims since Leonetti coached girls soccer for a number of years.

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