Medford Soccer Team Allowed to Play in Finals After Disqualification

There has been a major turn of events for the varsity boys soccer team at Medford High School in Massachusetts.

The team will be allowed to play in Saturday's playoff game.

"As students, as athletes, as young men, these individuals have done nothing to deserve elimination from the tournament," said Medford Superintendent Marice Edouard-Vincent.

The team had been disqualified from the playoffs and told they had to forfeit the season. That was the decision of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association this week after learning the team had played with an ineligible player all season.

"This was an adult clerical error," said Medford Athletic Director Robert Maloney. "These kids have done nothing but be professional since August, they deserve to keep continuing on."

One of the players is a fifth-year student. The district needed to ask for a waiver to allow him to play, and they reported the mistake when they learned of it on Wednesday.

But that was too late -- the school had broken a rule.

"This minor error should not prohibit the entire team from playing in the Division 1 North Finals," said Dr. Edouard-Vincent.

Medford appealed to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council, which denied the appeal Friday.

But the school also filed a lawsuit, and a judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday evening, which allows the team to play.

"The fact that they can play Saturday is great," said Sean Falvey, whose son plays on the team. "They can lose and still win. That, to me, is the best part of all of this. These kids deserve to play."

Medford will play Lincoln-Sudbury on Saturday.

If Medford wins, the school's attorneys will be in court Monday to ask the judge to allow the team to continue to play.

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