Undefeated Folsom High Soccer Team Disqualified from Section Championships

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FOLSOM -- It's hard to keep Folsom High's varsity boys soccer team quiet any time they get together -- on the field or huddled up.

On the night before section championships the chatter isn't about how they'll do in the big game. It's about how their undefeated team was disqualified from it.

"It wasn't the correct decision 'cause we played so hard," said Abraham Iniguez, an attacking forward for the team.

"We worked our entire, like, butts off to get to this point and, like, we just have team chemistry," said Folsom High School center back Andrew Ratto. "And when we did get the news, we were all butt-hurt, like, crying in the locker room and stuff."

"It's just a shame, with the scenario, 'cause 15 games ago this would have no impact on our season," said varsity left back Chris Cearlock.

"It sucks. It sucks for Sheldon. It sucks for Jesuit and it sucks for Folsom because tomorrow night two teams will play and they're not the two teams that should play," said soccer dad Steve Hoyle.

"We wanted to win. We wanted to be undefeated," said team forward Ethan Atterberoy. "We wanted to go to sections and we wanted to win."

Atterberoy is the one who played in several of what's been described as "friendly soccer contests" while recently away on an eight-day cultural exchange trip to Germany.

That's what violated bylaw 600 of the Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, putting the Bulldogs on a leash for the championships.

Tuesday's game against Sheldon High was could have sent them to sectionals, but because Atterberoy didn't sit out twice the number of games as he played abroad, they were forced to forfeit.

That would be the penalty required.

"Our hearts go out to them and their community for this entire situation," said Michael Garrison, CIF commissioner for the Sac-Joaquin section. "There are no winners in this situation. It’s just a bad situation that has occurred. I really feel bad for them."

"But we can't turn a blind eye to it," Garrison said. "These are the rules established by our 200 member schools."

Parents say the new bylaw just took effect for winter high school soccer.

"And the bylaws say that this only applies to winter sports," said soccer dad Herasmo Iniguez. "If this would have been a normal season it wouldn't apply. This is ridiculous."

This is the first time Folsom has participated in winter soccer and the first time the school's varsity boys have ever done this well.

The team is number six in the country according to MaxPreps and was 21 to zero before the forfeit.

"I'm not gonna say who, but the powers that be should have known the rules," said soccer mom Tina Ratto.

Folsom High School appealed the ruling removing them from the section championship but the CIF's Sac-Joaquin Section stuck with its decision.

"We are the best team in the section, maybe the best team in the state, but we'll never know," Atterberoy said.

In its appeal the high school's administration stressed that no one there believed the games played through the exchange program would violate any section rules.

The championship match Folsom won't be playing in is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Cosumnes Oaks High School between Sheldon and Jesuit.

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