When all was said and done, Carlos Boquin was cleared in time to play in his team's state title game … barely.
As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, among other news outlets, Boquin -- one of the star strikers for Brooklyn Park (Minn.) Prairie Seeds Academy -- was cleared to participate in the game by the Minnesota High School League just 15 minutes before the game kicked off in the Metrodome. The dramatic ruling concluded a drawn-out saga that required the importing of Boquin's birth certificate from El Salvador, an official translation and -- finally -- a ruling on Thursday that got in just under the wire.
Incredibly, the teen wasted no time in putting his eligibility to good use, almost literally. After missing the team's warmups and the opening kickoff because of that, Boqiun checked into the game in the 12th minute. In the 14th minute he was already on the scoresheet, tying the game with a powerful strike on his first touch of the ball. You can see him score and celebrate the goal wildly in the video above (Boquin wears number 13 in white in the clip).
Yet that promising start petered out, both for Boquin and Prairie Seeds as a team. The Lycans eventually fell 3-1 to St. Louis Park (Minn.) Benilde-St. Margaret's School, marking the first loss in the program's two-year history.
As Prep Rally previously reported, Boquin's age had been questioned not once, but twice by opposing coaches, first in 2010 and then again during the 2011 season. The 17-year-old sophomore -- who is adjudged to be a perfectly legal competitor under MHSL regulations -- provided a copy of his birth certificate in 2010 to regain eligibility, but was required to produce the actual document in 2011.
At the heart of the dispute around Boquin's eligibility was the timing of allegations against him. As the Star-Tribune first reported, questions about his eligibility weren't raised until Prairie Seeds was already competing in the state playoffs. That in turn forced Boquin to sit out the Lycans' first two playoff games while the school awaited the rushed arrival of his birth certificate from Central America.
According to Prairie Seeds coach Youssef Darbaki, all the legal wrangling took its tool on the team.
"I feel like the high school league pushed us to hire an attorney to prove who we are," Darbaki told the Star-Tribune. "It's pretty disappointing ... they should do that to everyone."