Escondido soccer team had to show birth certificates to be declared winners at tournament

League says it's part of the rules

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - An Escondido soccer coach told Team 10 he had to show the birth certificates for his 5 and 6-year-old soccer players before they were declared winners at a tournament.

League officials said it's just part of the rules.

Rafeal Jiminez Porras said watching his 5-year-old son play soccer is like watching himself at that age.

"He's like my mini-me," said Porras.

He said a beautiful father and son moment was almost ruined at the COPA San Diego Soccer Tournament in Mira Mesa.

The team called "Mexico Junior" played all weekend at tournament and were winning in the final match until a league official approached him.

"The guy approached me and said, 'Whatever the score is you lose.'  And I said, 'Are you kidding?'" said Porras.

Porras said the other team claimed his players were older than 5 and 6 years old.

"He said, 'If you don't show me the ID's and the birth certificates, you lose, whatever the score, you lose'," said Porras.

None of the parents had their child's birth certificates at the game, but Porras said they had shown the certificates the day before when they registered and paid.

Each player was then given a California Soccer League red bracelet proving they were the correct age, said Porras.

Porras said the parents then rushed to Escondido, grabbed their birth certificates drove back to Mira Mesa to prove their kids ages and the team was declared the winners of the game.

"I'm never enrolling my kids in the tournament again," said Porras.

California Soccer League Director, Ricky Franchi, said it is part of the league's rules for all coach's to have a copy of the players birth certificates and ID's.

He said Porras was supposed to attend a mandatory coach's meeting where the rules were explained.

Franchi said in the past, parent's have lied about their child's age and the copy of the birth certificate proves the players ages if a team formally challenges the issue.

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