The Podcast

When the Nightmare is Real ft. Stevie Gould

Welcome to Season 13, Episode 21, of the ParentingAces Podcast, a proud member of the Tennis Channel Podcast Network. This week’s episode may not be suitable for your children, so please use discretion before letting them watch/listen.

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When he was 11 years old, Stevie Gould knew what he wanted from tennis: a Blue Chip rating, direct entry into the biggest junior tournaments, a prestigious college tennis scholarship, and a real shot at the professional tour. Stevie did reach his goals of playing Kalamazoo and qualifying events for professional tournaments. He played Division I tennis at the University of Washington for one year before transferring to the University of San Francisco until he graduated with a psychology degree. In the Fall of 2024, Stevie will complete his college tennis eligibility with a year at Saint Mary’s College as he pursues a Master’s Degree.

Stevie’s parents – as well as others in the local tennis community – followed his lead and became part of the Burgos Tennis Program. The Goulds were providing their only child with what they thought was a coaching situation that would help Stevie reach his goals while keeping the fun alive for him. They could have never imagined what was truly going on with their son and his coach.

As Stevie explains, sexual predators are professionals. They study their prey. They calculate the best way to get what they want. And they are willing to spend months – if not years – grooming their victims.

In Stevie’s case, he had a coach who seemed to be able to provide everything Stevie needed to become the best tennis player possible. The coach seemed to know what it would take for Stevie to reach his goals as well as the skills to help him along the way. For several months, Stevie’s parents – like the other parents in their California community – would drive him to practices, stay and watch, and slowly build a trusting relationship with this man who would be guiding their son. All the parents did their research. All the parents thought they knew who this man truly was. Sadly, they never could have imagined who the coach turned out to be.

If there’s a takeaway from this episode, it is this: Parents, follow the Goulds’ lead and do your due diligence before hiring a coach for your child. Talk to your child about proper and improper touch, acceptable behaviors between a child and adult, and what to do if a trusted adult crosses the line. Keep the lines of communication open with your child so that they feel comfortable coming to you if anything seems or is not as it should be. Then, hope against hope that it works and your child never has to experience what Stevie went through from age 11 to almost 16.

If you or someone you know needs resources to help combat this type of abuse, here are some links for you:

To read more about Stevie’s case and others involving his same coach:

https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/4928508/2023/10/05/us-tennis-sexual-abuse-pam-shriver/#:~:text=Gould%2C%20a%2023%2Dyear%2D,cost%20of%20other%20top%20coaches

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/04/sports/tennis/tennis-sex-abuse-safesport.html

https://lawandcrime.com/ross-investigates/lawsuit-united-states-tennis-association-failed-to-protect-young-athletes-from-sexual-abuse-by-coach/

https://usfdons.com/news/2021/8/6/general-behind-the-mask-stevie-goulds-healing-journey

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1092872/usta-facing-sexual-abuse-lawsuit

https://www.nytimes.com/athletic/5485153/2024/05/14/tennis-usta-sexual-assault-case-lawsuits/

https://www.marinij.com/general-news/20081219/former-tam-coach-wins-legal-battle-in-sex-case/

**Don’t forget to register for our upcoming Junior Tennis Player & Parent Virtual Conference on June 9th! Link: https://juniortennisconference.eventbrite.com**

If you’re so inclined, please share this – and all our episodes! – with your fellow tennis players, parents, and coaches. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or via your favorite podcast app. Please be sure to check out our logo’d merch as well as our a la carte personal consultations in our online shop.

CREDITS

Intro & Outro Music: Morgan Stone aka STØNE

Audio & Video Editing: Lisa Stone

Comments

  1. User Avatar
    Lisa Stone on 22nd Jun 2024

    I would really love to get a conversation going here about how you talk with your kids about abuse. If you’ve shared this episode with your child(ren), what was their response? Did it lead to any kind of meaningful discussion? Any advice to share?

    1. Darcy Cuthill on 22nd Jun 2024

      In reply to Lisa Stone

      Hi Lisa, it is so good to be able to start this conversation with you and your listeners online. I was blown away by this interview with Stevie. His story is powerful and important to hear for us as sport parents. The interview allowed me to open up a conversation with my 14 year old daughter who ironically overheard the last few minutes of the podcast, making it a natural segue to talk to her about what abuse is and how to watch for signs of someone who may be grooming. She listened quietly while I summarized Stevie’s story and how he has overcome so much, and how he is now in a place to share such a powerful testimony. I let her know that Stevie is a brave young man and wants to help other girls and boys to avoid what happened to him, or to be strong enough to come forward if something like this were to happen to her or a friend. I told her to never be afraid to speak up, to remember Stevie and his courage. She promised me she would. I would really recommend to your listeners to take the time to go through this one and then to talk to their kids. It could change a life. Please send my very best and my gratitude to Stevie.

  2. Barbara Crane on 22nd Jun 2024

    I signed up so I could comment on this Podcast. First of all Thank You. Thank you for taking the time to listen and share this. What an amazing young man Stevie is to not only share his story but to now educate and fight for the safety of the others in this sport. Lisa you did a wonderful job with this interview. I shared this with my daughter and with several other tennis parents. It is a tough topic, however , it is every parents worst fear. As I thought about this interview, I kept on thinking of what Stevie said about the physical and emotional abuse from his coach thinking that this is what it took and he was willing to be tough for his dream. I wish there were more people out there like you Lisa educating and sharing about the path for Junior tennis. As parents we really are on our own trying to make decisions that are the best for our children, and there are so many mixed messages on what it takes, kids needing to toughing up etc… More information is always better. Also encouraging kids, there are no good secrets and sharing there day, frustrations and hurts is not whining. The expectations in this sport on youth builds such character , however, is also alot. Thank you Lisa and Stevie I know by sharing you have helped to stop and hopefully prevent other situations like this.

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