The Oakdale High soccer team will forfeit the entire season, including its Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV titles, because the team used an ineligible player, Oakdale High Principal Rick Jones said Thursday.
Section commissioner Pete Saco said he believes it's the first time in the section's history a team has forfeited a section championship.
"We discovered today that one of the players on the team turned 19 in January," a somber Jones said Thursday. "We immediately self-reported it. It was an adult error, not a kid's error."
Section bylaw No. 203 states, "No student, whose 19th birthday is attained prior to June 15, shall participate or practice on any team in the following school year. A student, whose 19th birthday is on or before June 14, is ineligible."
"It's an unfortunate situation," Saco said. "But I would expect nothing less from Rick Jones and Oakdale High School. They're one of our model schools, and they're following the rules."
Jones said there are normal checks and balances for age and academic eligibility.
"But for some reason this slipped by," he said. "We never checked ages."
Saco said, instead of naming runner-up El Dorado of Placerville the champion, he's going to vacate the title. The titlist will be left blank in the section's record books.
The stunning admission canceled what was a storybook season for the Mustangs, who went 23-4-4.
In the playoffs, Oakdale beat Center of Antelope and West Campus of Sacramento with identical 2-0 scores to advance to the final. There, against El Dorado, the Mustangs won in a section-record 14th round of a penalty-kick shootout in a driving rain at Folsom High.
It was Oakdale's fourth section title in five years.
Instead, Oakdale becomes the fourth VOL soccer team this season to forfeit games because of ineligible players. East Union forfeited four games and Manteca and Central Valley three apiece.
Oakdale soccer coach Alfredo Quiroga couldn't be reached for comment.
"It's very unfortunate," Jones said. "The kids were pretty rocked when we told them. It's not their fault. It's just a bad deal all the way around."
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.