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Youth soccer club faces questions about hiring practices after 2 arrests

Two of the Real Colorado soccer club's coaches have been arrested in the past two months on child pornography charges.

DENVER — The Real Colorado soccer club has a reputation as one of the top youth soccer organizations in the country. Their website brags of six national championships, 88 national youth team members, more than 1,000 athletic scholars and more than 5,000 total players. 

Recently, however, the club has made news not for the accomplishments of its players but for the alleged crimes of two of its employees.

On Tuesday, after receiving a tip that child pornography had been shared through social media, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of Heberto Limas-Villers on charges of sexual exploitation of a child. Limas-Villers is a coach at Real Colorado, though he has now been suspended. 

His arrest comes two months after sheriff's deputies arrested Bud Harper, an "age coordinator" and a former coach at Real Colorado, also on child pornography charges.

RELATED: Colorado youth soccer coach arrested on child sexual exploitation charges

RELATED: Colorado youth soccer coach arrested on child sexual exploitation charges

Mike Stassi's daughter played for Harper three years ago, her last year with Real Colorado.  

"Honestly, I didn't have a great impression of him. There wasn't a whole lot of interaction," Stassi said.

Stassi said the criminal charges against the two coaches are deeply disturbing, and he's hoping they'll bring about major changes in the way Real Colorado screens its employees before they're hired and evaluates them afterward.

"The fact that you see some of this coming out makes me question even more what is going on and how these teams vet them, do background checks, do training and then hold accountable," he said.

In a written statement, Real Colorado said, "We conducted regular background checks on both coaches and there were no red flags in either of their backgrounds. Additionally, the conduct in question did not occur in the presence of our players and families, according to information from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. We take player safety seriously, and we share the frustrations of the community about these arrests."

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