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Fargo parents start petition to change high school girls soccer season on grounds of discrimination

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David Samson / The Forum 2 / 2

FARGO—High school soccer players and parents in Fargo are fighting for a change, saying their girls teams are being discriminated against.

In case you haven't looked outside recently, the conditions are not the best for playing soccer.

High school girls soccer in Fargo has its season in the spring so getting game time on the turf is a challenge right now.

A game of kickball kicks off girls' soccer practice. Coaches say this is the fifteenth practice in a row they've had to stay inside, which is not ideal when their gym is less than half the size of their soccer field.

"In indoors, there's only so much we can do on the board. We have to actually be on the field and be training on the field," said Fargo Davies midfielder Tasha Wynne.

Tasha says they would if they could, but with a mid-April snow pack and muddy turf, they can't.

"We can't run on that. Our cleats will slip. We'll slip all over," said Tasha.

It's not something the boys teams deal with since their season is in fall.

After hearing the girls in Moorhead get to play ball in the fall, her mother Kerry Wynne started a petition.

"Discrimination against girls, because the girls don't get the same opportunity that the boys do because the season is in the spring," said Kerry Wynne.

She says it goes against Title IX citing a group of parents in Michigan whose lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Their ruling; schools had to choose a season for boys and girls to both play in.

"They decided to move the boys season to the spring," said Kerry.

With winter lingering, games are being postponed and cancelled, which may lead to four games a week when the snow finally melts.

"Obviously that's not good for the girls because they're going to start getting hurt. It's too much wear and tear on their bodies to play that often," said Kerry.

She took up the issue with the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

They told her all but one of their member high schools voted in favor of a spring girls' season.

Their assistant director says coaches worry there won't be enough field space to share with other fall sports.

He says another explanation could be the people who coach in both soccer seasons.

"A lot of our coaches coach boys and girls, so it would be a conflict there as well," said Kevin Morast, NDHSAA Assistant Director.

Morast tells us 26 states also have their high school girls soccer team seasons in the spring.

They're waiting to hear back from the Office of Civil Rights on whether North Dakota high schools are going against Title IX.