Ineligible player keeps boys soccer out of playoffs

On the field Fallbrook High School’s boys soccer team finished the 2012-13 season with a 11-10-2 overall record, including a 5-3-2 mark in Avocado West League play which would have been worth fourth place in the league standings, but an ineligible player caused the Warriors to forfeit eight wins and a tie and kept Fallbrook out of the CIF playoffs while leaving the Warriors with official records of 3-19-1 and 1-8-1.

“Regardless it was a very successful season,” said Fallbrook coach Jorge Rojas.

The player was participating with the Academy program of the Nomads club during the CIF season. That violated the prohibition against play or practice with a club team during the CIF season, and Rojas took action once the high school team was notified. “We turned ourself in,” he said. “We dealt with it like it should have been.”

The player was removed from the Fallbrook active roster. Rojas was told that Fallbrook was not eligible for the CIF playoffs. “It was a little confusing to us,” he said.

“We had to respect what they had to say,” Rojas said about being denied a playoff berth. “Our athlete did break the rules.”

The forfeit losses included the reversal of a Jan. 31 victory over La Costa Canyon, which won the 2012-13 CIF Division II championship. In the first game after the ineligible player was benched, the Warriors defeated 2012-13 CIF Division I playoff finalist Carlsbad by a 2-1 score Feb. 7.

Fallbrook was ranked among the county’s top 20 teams after defeating the Lancers, and the Warriors followed that game with a 1-1 tie Feb. 12 against El Camino and a 2-1 loss Feb. 14 to Division I playoff participant Rancho Buena Vista. “Our team was just doing such a great job that we really felt one man didn’t affect the team as a whole,” Rojas said.

The Warriors actually lost another player for the final two games of the season. Team captain and center midfielder Ignacio Robles, a senior who spent three years on Fallbrook’s varsity, played against Carlsbad before learning that his father’s cancer was terminal. Ignacio Robles Sr. did not live in San Diego County, so Ignacio Robles Jr. missed the El Camino and Rancho Buena Vista contests to be with his father. Ignacio Robles Sr. passed away March 11, and the team is planning a fundraiser for the family’s medical expenses.

Robles was one of nine seniors on the 2012-13 Warriors.

“It was a great season,” Rojas said. “Definitely happy. Very satisfied.”

The on-field winning season was Fallbrook’s first since 2007-08, and the 11 on-field wins were the most since the 2005-06 team reached the CIF finals. “Overall I think we’re on the edge of success,” Rojas said. “Hopefully we continue on the good side of things our program has experienced.”

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