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Prairie Seeds player eligible at last moment

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 11/03/11, 6:59PM CDT


Carlos Boquin's age was confirmed 15 minutes before the Class 1A title contest.

Carlos Boquin of Prairie Seeds Academy (13) was declared eligible right before the Class 1A boys’ soccer final, then celebrated by scoring a first-half goal.

Prairie Seeds Academy standout soccer player Carlos Boquin arrived about 90 seconds late to Thursday morning's championship game. But he did so without restrictions.

Boquin, a sophomore, had been ruled ineligible by the Minnesota High School League and missed the Lycans' first two Class 1A tournament games. At issue was Boquin's age. He played summer soccer with the Minnesota Kings and the team website listed his birth year as 1988. Players older than 20 are ineligible to participate in MSHSL activities.

It's not clear what action, if any, the Kings or the summer league took to verify the birth date. A league official said age only affects registration in that an adult must provide consent for players under age 18.

Officials at Prairie Seeds, a charter school in Brooklyn Park, were required to determine Boquin's actual age. His original birth certificate, stating he was 17, was mailed from his father in El Salvador and given to the MSHSL attorney Wednesday evening, said Lycans coach Youssef Darbaki. His eligibility was confirmed about 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, 15 minutes before the start of the championship game.

Boquin, a playmaking forward, checked in at the 12th minute and tied the score at 1-1 about two minutes later. Benilde-St. Margaret's went on to win 3-1 to ruin the Lycans' bid for a second consecutive state title.

"Obviously, he is a piece of the puzzle the way we play," Darbaki said. "You can see the boost he gives us up top, no question."

Darbaki questioned the MSHSL's decision to require the school to verify Boquin's age.

"I feel like the high school league pushed us to hire an attorney to prove who we are," Darbaki said. "It's pretty disappointing ... they should do that to everyone."

MSHSL executive director Dave Stead said requiring Prairie Seeds to verify Boquin's age was nothing personal.

"That's every school's responsibility to do that," Stead said. "Through whatever means they needed to get the information, they did. It was confirmed so he [was] able to play."

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