Alfie Morel, 24, formerly of Tidcombe Green, Leigh Park, denies targeting three boys during a campaign of seduction that led to accusations of rape, sexual assaults and him sending explicit pictures and videos of himself.
Morel, giving evidence at Portsmouth Crown Court, admitted communicating with the boys but said the principal complainant became jealous after becoming injured.
‘He sent me messages asking why I had ignored him,’ Morel said. ‘He was injured and I was doing more coaching with other players.
‘I received a lot of messages asking me what I was doing with training and if I preferred the others. He wanted to know how much better they were getting.’
Asked about his relationship and whether he thought it was wrong to engage with the boys, Morel said: ‘At the time I did not think anything of it.’
But he added: ‘I realise I was stupid and immature.’
Morel denied asking for graphic pictures to be sent to him by one boy. ‘I have no interest in what people do in their own time,’ he said.
He said he was called ‘sly’ by one of the alleged victims, making him feel nervous. ‘I was panicking about the allegations put across on something I knew I had not done,’ he said.
Referring to another incident when he was alleged to have touched a boy, he said: ‘If I had grabbed him I would know,’ he said. ‘I 100 per cent did not do it.’
Morel also admitted ignoring safeguarding rules. ‘I didn’t as I was a young coach who thought I knew better,’ he said.
In a separate incident, unrelated to the trial, the defendant admitted engaging in sexual communication with a girl. ‘It was more her sending images. I was thinking it is not right but my immaturity took over,’ he said.
When he was invited for a police interview over the communication, Morel admitted he lied to officers about it.
He said: ‘I was aware if I pleaded guilty then my bail could be taken away and I would be remanded in custody. That’s the reason I made the decision to lie.’
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Morel, who has been remanded in custody, faces nine charges including rape, attempted rape, two counts of sexual communication with a child, three counts of sexual assault of a child under 13, causing or inciting a child into sexual activity, and engaging in sexual activity of a child.
He denies all the charges.