Soccer league considers policy to allow transgender athlete to play

KIRKLAND, Wash. — A 13-year-old transgender soccer player is speaking out against a policy that prohibits him from playing on a boy’s team, and the league tells KIRO 7 is it considering a change.

Soccer has always been a passion for Bobby Jones. The athlete plays for the Titans FC Bellevue and asked to play on the boy’s team after coming out about one year ago.

“You have to stand up for what you believe in, or change is never going to happen,” Bobby said.

His family reached out to the team, and the Titans FC supported the change, according to Bobby’s mother, Eleanor Jones.

However, the team plays for the Puget Sound Premier League, and the league’s policy states something different:

“In the PSPL, players must play on teams of their same sex.”

“It’s a gut punch as a parent. Trans youth face so many barriers already,” Bobby’s mother said. “Maybe they’re just not aware of what their policy is doing to players, and maybe they’ve never encountered an openly trans athlete before.”

In response to the family’s claim, the league’s executive director told KIRO 7 they are not preventing Bobby Jones from playing.

“There are no games due to COVID-19,” said Stanley Holmes, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Premier League.

“We are studying this complicated issue and trying to put a policy together.”

In an email prior to their interview with KIRO 7, league directors told the Joneses that they will take a closer look at the rules, but they added that any policy change takes time.

Bobby’s father Dakota Jones said the wait is unnecessary.

“A lot of damage can occur during that time frame, and it’s not really acceptable to just push something important like that off,” he said.

Hundreds of student-athletes in Washington play for teams in the Puget Sound Premier League.

The league has been paused because of COVID-19 concerns, but parents said games might return soon.

The Joneses said Bobby might not be the only transgender player, and they’re urgently asking the organization for a change.

“The argument’s been made that no games are being played now. So why does it matter? But we know that issues around social justice doesn’t have a particular timeline.”