HOUSTON – They were supposed to be preparing for their first game in the 4A state championship tournament but the Wheatley High School boys soccer team is staying home.
In a shocking turn of events, the Houston Independent School District announced Tuesday the team was ineligible because of a player who lives outside district boundaries.
"I'm a captain myself," says junior Irankandu Bosco. "It hurts to know that some of my captains, they're not going to get another chance."
For the boys, the news was like a kick to the stomach.
"We've been through a lot together and we're always going to be together as a team," says senior Jesus Cortina. "It was really heartbreaking."
The Wildcats have overcome obstacles all season long. With players from several different countries, they became only the second ever HISD soccer program to make it to the state tournament. The team only had one goal to practice with and no nets. But they say they not only learned to play as a team but as a family.
Now they're choosing to focus on the positives of a historic season with a winning attitude.
"The accomplishment" is what junior Angel Cortina says he'll cherish the most.
"We went really far. Nobody thought we would make it this far," he said.
HISD says the team inadvertently played the ineligible player during the Class 4A Region III Championship Game on April 8.
Because of the forfeit HISD's Washington High School will advance to the state tournament, playing tomorrow.
The school released the following statement:
"The Wheatley High School boys’ soccer team inadvertently played an ineligible player during the Class 4A Region III championship game on April 8. Therefore, the team will forfeit its win, allowing Washington High School to advance to the state tournament.
"As part of their due diligence, Wheatley school administrators self-reported the violation Tuesday to the HISD director of athletics after conducting standard additional verifications of each player’s eligibility prior to the state tournament. A Wheatley player was deemed ineligible based on an attendance boundary requirement set forth by UIL.
"The HISD Athletics Department has notified UIL of the incident. The school also notified the team of the incident and will work closely with the HISD Department of Athletics to determine its cause."