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Central Valley forfeits six games
The Central Valley High School varsity boys soccer team must forfeit six games, including a win and two ties in Valley Oak League play, for using an ineligible player.

Second-year athletic director Michelle Parrish conducted an internal investigation after a VOL coach reported a possible violation to league manager/Sierra High School athletic director Greg Leland. Leland relayed the concern to Parrish last Friday.

After investigating the matter, Parrish discovered that the team had in fact violated a CIF rule. She reported the offense to Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Pete Saco soonafter.

"It's a bad situation. But it was totally unintentional," Parrish said. "It's really complicated when you have two high schools in one town. You have kids going back and forth all the time. We just didn't know he went to Ceres High last year because he transferred to Central Valley midyear. Sometimes kids fall through the cracks. The one thing I'm going to do is make sure this doesn't happen again."

The player in question transferred from Ceres High School to Central Valley last January. If there was a bona fide change of address, he would have been eligible immediately.

"The CIF rule states you have to have a full family move from one zone to another zone," Parrish said. "It's unfortunate the kid gets put in the middle because mom and dad didn't move together. Had we knew this and did the paperwork, he more than likely would have had to sit out the first 30 days of the season. He would have been playing in a couple of weeks."

First-year head coach Omar Leon met with his players, Parrish and principal Fred Van Vleck after school on Monday. The meeting lasted 25 minutes.

"It wasn't like we were trying to hide it," Leon said. "We thought everything was fine because he transferred from Ceres to Central Valley last year. But we didn't play close attention to the paperwork. It's not his fault."

Central Valley will face an uphill battle for the remainder of the year.

The Hawks dropped from 2-0-2 (third) to 1-3 (tie for sixth with Ceres High) in the league standings.

They also had to forfeit their second-place trophy, earned at the Sierra Cup during the preseason. Sierra, Escalon and Orestimba were awarded victories over Central Valley.

The top three teams in conference play advance to the playoffs.

"The good thing is there's a lot of games left," Parrish said. "They have a really good team. If they can pull it together, they can make it. I have faith."

"The objective is still the same," Leon added. "Now we have to work twice as hard to accomplish it."