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High school soccer teams eliminated from CIF play after brawl at end of LA City final

High school soccer teams eliminated from postseason play after brawl at end of LA City final
High school soccer teams eliminated from postseason play after brawl at end of LA City final 02:32

Two local high school soccer teams have been eliminated from postseason play after a post-match brawl at the end of the Los Angeles City final over the weekend. 

Video from the moments after the game shows Birmingham Community Charter High School players celebrating their 2-0 victory over El Camino Real Charter High School on Saturday before things turn violent and fists start flying. 

"It just got crazy," said Damian Lopez, a senior soccer player at BCCHS. "There was a lot of taunting, but it's part of the game. It's a rivalry game."

Lopez says that in hindsight, he and his teammates let things get out of hand after the game, and that their main focus should have been on continuing their goal for a state title. 

That dream was diminished on Monday when the California Interscholastic Federation, more commonly known as CIF, announced that both teams involved in the brawl would be disqualified from moving forward to the next round of play, the CIF SoCal Boys Soccer Regionals. 

Both teams have accepted the federation's decision, the statement said. 

However, it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of players who had their season's end more suddenly than anticipated. 

"It's unfair," Lopez said. "A lot of us are seniors, we all kept our cool, especially the ones that play — it's not fair to us."

Just last season, Birmingham's team advanced all the way to state play but fell in the title game, and with 16 seniors on this year's team, their expectations were high, especially after cruising to victory on Saturday. 

"No one nows the great game we played," Lopez said. "Now Birmingham goes out as the team that fought and, like, lost everything."

He says that usually CIF will suspend a player or two involved in fighting, but never have they heard of entire teams getting punished, but he understands that the decision is one that they'll just have to live with.

"We all understand," Lopez said. "We have to get over it. There's nothing we can do now."

El Camino Real Coach Ian Kogan issued a statement following the brawl, addressing CIF's decision to suspend his team. 

"The ECR boys' soccer program would like to apologize for the incidents that took place on Saturday night following the completion of the LA City final. A few of our players made poor decisions while reacting to our opponents' improper celebrations," his statement said. "Due to the post game incidents, our school was removed from the CIF regional tournament. I agree with this decision, as our program should be held in the highest of standards. Although the players were disappointed, we have learned our lesson and are moving forward with building our student athletes with character and integrity. Lastly, congratulations to Birmingham high school for winning the City championship."

In a statement released to KCAL News, CIF said: 

"The CIF Los Angeles City Section has determined that due to the events that occurred at the conclusion of the Division I boys soccer championship game, Birmingham Community Charter High School and El Camino Real Charter High School will not advance to the CIF SoCal Boys Soccer Regionals.

The Birmingham and El Camino Real administrations have accepted this decision.

The CIF Los Angeles City Section maintains interscholastic athletic competition should always demonstrate high standards of ethics and sportsmanship and promote the development of good character and other important life skills. Respect and integrity towards each other prior, during, and after a contest is of utmost priority."

Both teams would have continued postseason play on Tuesday, but due to their disqualification, their competitors were gifted a bye. 

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