Ex-Cal women’s soccer player sues school, alleges Title IX violation

A former Cal women’s soccer player filed a civil lawsuit against the college and her former coach, alleging gender discrimination in violation of Title IX after she was dismissed from the team.

Renee Thomas, a sophomore from Laguna Beach whom her attorney pointed out was named the Bears’ most improved player last year, is claiming she was unjustly dropped from the soccer team in April by coach Neil McGuire.

The lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Oakland by Thomas’ attorney, noted civil rights lawyer Dan Siegel, seeks punitive damages as well as Thomas’ reinstatement to the women’s team.

A Cal athletic department spokesman said the school would have a response later in the day.

Thomas, who turned down a scholarship to play at the University of Colorado after starring at Laguna Beach High two years ago, was one of five non-scholarship women’s players released from Cal’s team, court documents show.

Thomas played both forward and defender last year for Cal, which suffered its worst season under McGuire while going 5-12-2. The women’s team failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in the coach’s 12 years years in Berkeley. Thomas had more playing time than any of the other four women cut, appearing in 12 of the Bears’ 19 games last year while scoring one goal and one assist. She and the others were dropped from the team at the same time by McGuire, four months before the Bears’ current season.

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