By Jeremiah Dobruck
4:03 PM PST, January 18, 2013
Police have arrested a former Irvine Unified School District soccer coach who is suspected of felony lewd conduct with a 15-year-old girl he met through a private sports league.
Ian Matthew Ebert, 26, coached boys' soccer at two IUSD campuses between 2009 and 2012 and is suspected of having inappropriate contact with the girl last year.
Police said Ebert and the alleged victim were around each other intermittently because of her participation in club soccer.
Ebert, who played soccer at UC Berkeley, coached for the Strikers FC of Irvine, police said.
Between August and December 2012, Ebert allegedly had inappropriate contact with the girl multiple times while he was a coach for a private soccer club and living in Irvine.
A high school counselor alerted police Monday about the possibility of the inappropriate relationship between Ebert and the girl, police said. The counselor also informed the school district and the girl's parents.
Detectives began the investigation that afternoon and arrested Ebert about 10 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of two felony charges.
Although the alleged abuse occurred while Ebert was an IUSD employee, police said there is currently no link between the victim and his position at the two public schools.
Ebert started as an assistant soccer coach at Woodbridge High School in fall 2009, according to IUSD.
He left the following year to coach the boys varsity soccer team at University High School during the 2010-11 season, IUSD spokesman Ian Hanigan said.
Ebert then returned to Woodbridge as the schools' head soccer coach from July 2011 to December 2012 when he resigned.
"My understanding is he resigned over the winter break saying he was hired by another employer in the bay area," Hanigan said.
Hanigan commended IUSD employees for rapidly notifying authorities.
"The allegation against this former employee was reported to a counselor on Monday, and I believe police were on the scene within the hour," he said.
Ebert was booked at Orange County Jail on $100,000 bail, police said. He posted bond and was released Friday morning, according to jail records.