Enchantment Sports Staff Investigative Report
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Troy Wheeler, fired last week as Sandia High School girls soccer coach, has also been put ‘on leave’ by his youth soccer club, pending in investigation into an arrest last week on two warrants, according to police reports and the president of a New Mexico Youth Soccer Association club.
In addition, according to state court records and Wheeler’s online bio, he was apparently hired as Sandia’s coach in December, while being a wanted fugitive.
Wheeler was fired just days before the Matadors opened their season with a 2-1 double overtime loss to Cibola on Monday. The team, now being coached by Jay Sheraden – an assistant with the Matadors until last week – plays again today against West Mesa in the Albuquerque Metro tournament at APS Soccer Complex.
A Lordsburg County Magistrate Court judge had issued a warrant for his arrest in October after he failed appear in court stemming from a 2015 citation in which he was caught speeding – driving more than 26 mph over the speed limit in a residential neighborhood – and not having a legal driver’s license.
The other warrant was for contempt of a court issued in Bernalillo County with a child support case, according to court records.
Albuquerque Public Schools officials declined to say why Wheeler was fired.
Sandia athletic director Brian Weems sent a letter to the parents of the Sandia players last week stating “APS HR (human resources) has terminated (Wheeler’s) contract.”
Sources in APS told Enchantment Sports that Wheeler was terminated because “he failed to report a recent arrest.”
Wheeler has a criminal history that includes arrests and summonses for domestic violence, DWI and cruelty to children. Despite the criminal history that has spanned nearly a decade, Wheeler has been placed in several high-profile coaching positions including at La Cueva High School, the Albuquerque United Football Club, the New Mexico Rush Soccer Club and the Elite Football Club.
On Tuesday evening, Wheeler told Enchantment Sports he had no comment about his firing. As far as the arrests, he said “things have all been cleared up.”
Most recently, Wheeler, 39, started a new youth soccer club in Albuquerque, Atletico NM, with a group of coaches who broke away from the 42-year-old Corrales Soccer Club. According to Atletico NM’s web site, Wheeler is the Director of Coaching for the club.
The site also lists Wheeler as the coach for three other youth soccer teams coaching boys and girls ranging from ages 11 to 17. The club has more than 100 children registered with the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association, the governing body for youth soccer in the state. His teams play in Duke City Soccer League, which is the premier competitive youth soccer league in the state attracting hundreds of teams and thousands of youth from as far as Amarillo and Durango.
Nate C’de Baca, president of Athletico NM, told Enchantment Sports that Wheeler “is on leave. His situation is currently under review with the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association. It’s not a decision of our club. When they clear him, the association we belong to, when they clear him and review his case, he can return. As of now, he is on leave.”
“… Everything that I’ve heard, it wouldn’t have any type of conflict with (Wheeler coaching in NMYSA); it’s actually like a personal dispute between him and his ex. It wasn’t anything to do with the kids he was coaching or parents or anything like that.
“He hasn’t been officially fired from our club. We are just waiting for the results by the NMYSA.”
C’ de Baca said that Gloria Faber, the executive director of NMYSA, would be the one to answer whether Wheeler would be reinstated.
Late Tuesday evening, Faber said that “Any information concerning our process is confidential. It’s not something that’s shared with the public. We have a process that we follow, our background check policy and risk management policy, that’s all I can tell you. Mr. Wheeler has rights as well.”
Faber said the policies are on the association’s website and “we’re in the vetting process with Mr. Wheeler. … If risk management clears him, he will be allowed to come to the organization.”
Two of Wheeler’s teams with Atletico NM begin play on Sept. 8, when DCSL kick off its season at the New Mexico Soccer Tournament Complex in Bernalillo.
C’de Baca said he knew of Wheeler’s arrest last week, but when asked about if he had knowledge of Wheeler’s DWI arrests, he said, “No, I am not aware of those. I had no idea.”
But he said that had the arrests been recent, “NMYSA would have immediately flagged it. We run through our certifications every year, and with everything to do with the law and everything.”
C’de Baca was not asked about the domestic violence and cruelty to children summons.
According to court documents Wheeler was wanted on the Hildalgo County warrant and a second warrant was issued for his arrest in July stemming from failing to pay child support . He was arrested by Albuquerque police on Aug. 22 and was released after posting a cash bond of $2,400. It appears that bond was set for the amount of child support Wheeler owed.
According to court records, Wheeler has two child support cases filed against him with two separate women.
Court records indicate that warrants have been issued for Wheeler’s arrest two other times for failing to pay child support in the two separate cases.
In December 2008, he was summons by Albuquerque police to appear in court on domestic violence and cruelty to children charges after his girlfriend called police and reported that Wheeler put her in a head lock while she was holding her one-year-old daughter, according to a criminal complaint. The girlfriend told police the child was struck while Wheeler was placing her into a head lock, the complaint states. The mother is who Wheeler owed child support to when he was arrested last week, court records indicate.
The 2008 summons said the girlfriend refused medical treatment “as she was uninjured,” and said her daughter was also uninjured.
After he was summons in 2009, Wheeler apparently had failed to appear in court. He was arrested after he was stopped by APD and charged with DWI after admitting he spent the night drinking at the Horse and Angel bar near Eubank and Juan Tabo, according to a criminal complaint. A “hold” was placed on Wheeler and he was in jail for five days before he was allowed to post a bond. He also had a suspended driver’s license at the time, court records state.
Ultimately the domestic violence case was dismissed in September 2009 due to “lack of prosecution,” according to court records. He was however, found guilty of failing to appear in court, online court records state.
In March 2011, Wheeler was arrested again for DWI and for having a suspended license, according to court records. Both of the DWI cases against Wheeler were dismissed due to the prosecution being “unable to proceed.” According to online court records.
A little more than a year after his arrests, Wheeler was hired to coach at La Cueva High School., according to his online bio from Atletico NM.
In March 2016, Wheeler had a warrant issued for his arrest for failing to pay child support. It appears that cause didn’t cause APS to fire him from La Cueva at the time. He was allowed to stay on as a coach until November 2017, his bio states.
Enchantment Sports Editor in Chief Mark Smith contributed to this story
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