Minnesotans rally for Idaho youth soccer team subjected to racism

The team of 7-11 year olds has been the target of a bigot in Idaho.

It's been two months since a youth soccer coach in Idaho received a frightening letter from a racist, and Minnesotans are now rallying behind the club to get them to Minnesota for one of the largest international soccer tournaments in the world.

The letter, as Idaho Juniors FC's coach Jeromy Tarken said, isn't for "sensitive eyes."

"It’s because of liberals like you that our state is full of [n-word] and wet*****. Your [n-word] boy made the soccer field unclean by stepping on it. You are no better than the trash families you have. You are trash. Be careful how you coach. One day you might piss off the wrong parent or families. The Juniors are a joke. Quit now before the whole state hates you. Be careful.”

Their story gained national attention when it was picked up by Sports Illustrated, where Tarkon said the letter gives them an opportunity to "fight racism."

Even Landon Donovan, one of the all-time great soccer stars for team USA, went to bat for Tarkon and his team.

“Coach Tarkon and his players have been subjected to disgusting behavior by an ignorant coward and the entire soccer community has their backs," Donovan told VICE Sports.

Minnesotans rally to their cause

Donovan was right.

After hearing about the racism directed at the group of kids, all 11 years old or younger, St. Paul's Nachiket Karnik and Bridgett McDowell started a fundraiser through YouCaring with a goal of raising $24,000.

But with only 26 days to go they've raised just over $8,600.

"Our first reaction was outrage which quickly morphed into a desire for action," they wrote on the page. "The boys in Idaho Juniors FC (IJFC) need to see that for every coward writing racist notes, there are thousands of us who are ready to give a red card to racism and support those different than us."

The money would get 16 players, 3 coaches and 2 adult chaperones to Minnesota for the USA Cup in Blaine between July 16-22.

It'll cover airfare, tournament registration fees, room and board, tickets to see the Minnesota United FC play and basic needs like laundry, shipping and luggage fees.

Playing in the USA Cup is not cheap. Registration fees for 16 U-11 players is just over $2,000, and that's not including a $505 charge per person to stay in a dorm at the University of Minnesota or University of Northwestern for a week.

The USA Cup in Blaine is the largest international soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere. 

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