PORTLAND—The Portland boys’ soccer team has forfeited its Sept. 6 victory at rival Deering after the Bulldogs self-reported having inadvertently fielding a player who was overage.
Longtime Portland coach Rocky Frenzilli said that the unnamed player, who is no longer at the school, took part in a couple games in the summer of 2011, but wasn’t seen again until this summer.
This year, when the player turned in his paperwork, his birthdate was reflected as April 8, 1994, but the school’s previous records showed his birth year as 1992.
After taking part in the Bulldogs’ season opening loss to Noble and seeing limited time in the Deering game, the player left school.
Upon discovery of the player’s age, Portland self-reported to the Maine Principals’ Association, which ruled Friday that per its by-laws, the victory would be forfeited, changing Portland’s record from 2-3-1 to 1-4-1 and lifting Deering from 3-3-1 to 4-2-1.
Portland athletic director Mike Connolly said that the player was not born in the United States and that the information he gave the school reflected the documents he had.
“He gave us his appealed birthdate rather than the date the country has assigned to him,” Connolly said. “He’s in the process of appealing. It came up through the guidance office when we saw his age and that he was withdrawing from school. Rocky came to me and we decided to self report. It’s a fairly simple process. I think it was a black and white ruling. I thought we had a good argument, but there’s no appeal process. It’s disappointing for Rocky because he takes a lot of pride in running the program the right way. He did the right things immediately.”
“Somewhere along the line, it just went through,” said Frenzilli. “I went to Mike immediately. Mike put together a letter to the MPA. Rules are rules and (the player) was overage. I’m disappointed for the boys, but it was a clerical error that fell through the cracks.”
Other parties involved stressed that Portland did the right thing.
“I’m pleased with how Portland handled it,” said MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Burnham. “They found a student who was ineligible, reported it and forfeited the game.”
“We understand the eligibility process and support it and commend Portland on its quick action,” Deering athletic director Mel Craig said. “It’s an honest situation that was rectified quickly. It puts all of us on alert and makes every AD realize it can happen to any one of us. It’s certainly not the way we want to win a game.”
Frenzilli said that his team will come together and play hard the rest of the way.
“We’ll give everything we have the rest of the year,” Frenzilli said. “It’s a learning process for us all.”