IHSA declines to hold appeal hearing on reinstating CPS soccer teams to state playoffs

Thirty-eight Public League soccer teams were scheduled to play in the Class 2A and 3A state soccer playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. All the games will be forfeited.

SHARE IHSA declines to hold appeal hearing on reinstating CPS soccer teams to state playoffs
Young’s Rodney Bejabeng (10) takes possession of the ball against Glenbard North.

Young’s Rodney Bejabeng (10) takes possession of the ball against Glenbard North.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The Illinois High School Association declined to hold an appeal hearing to reinstate Public League soccer teams to the Class 2A and 3A playoffs on Monday. The teams were forced to forfeit the upcoming games due to the teachers strike.

Principals from Washington and Alcott filed an appeal with the IHSA on Sunday, claiming that the association’s strike policy doesn’t specifically mention games, just “competition.”

According to IHSA strike policy teams are allowed to continue participating in the state playoffs if the competition was already underway before the district’s teachers strike began. The appeal claimed that the soccer competition started Oct. 1, when the IHSA seeded the state soccer playoffs.

“Given that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) removed their Boys & Girls Golf participants and Class 1A Boys Soccer teams from their respective IHSA State Series competitions due to the strike, and that CPS has said they will not allow any other teams to compete during the strike, our Board did not believe an appeal merited review at this time,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement.

Thirty-eight Public League soccer teams were scheduled to play in the Class 2A and 3A state soccer playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. All the games will now be forfeited.

“I thought we had a shot at it,” Solorio soccer coach Adrian Calleros said. “Nobody wants to have blood on their hands. It is easier for CPS to say it is an IHSA rule rather than somebody taking responsibility. It’s terrible. You have kids whose high school careers are being ended by the strike.”

Solorio senior Rafa Soto is one of those players. He learned that the appeal was denied by the IHSA shortly after practicing with his team, a practice organized by the players.

“It’s really disappointing,” Soto said. “We’ve stayed busy and stayed prepared the last few days.”

Solorio won a soccer state title in 2017 and lost in the city championship game this season. Soto was a member of the state-title winning team.

“Even losing that last game in the playoffs builds character,” Calleros said. “That is something you share with your teammates and something you always remember, even though it is bittersweet.”

CPS announced at 4 p.m. on Monday that classes are canceled again Tuesday.

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