Withrow Student and Refugee Wants Another Year of High School Soccer

  1. #1
    hoops5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 10

    Withrow Student and Refugee Wants Another Year of High School Soccer

    Interesting article in the Enquirer. What are your thoughts?

    Out of the Congo

    Daniel Sumuni is certain of two things: He wants to go to college, and he must play soccer.

    He's 19 – or maybe 18, but we'll get to that – and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has political asylum here, meaning that the U.S. State Department determined that he and his family were in mortal danger there.
    He's a Withrow High School sophomore, by credits, but a soon-to-be senior if he passes his Ohio Graduation Tests.
    And, according to high school eligibility rules, Daniel is too old to play soccer this season. His birth certificate says he was born Jan. 1, 1996. Daniel's mom says he was actually born around August – she marked Jan. 1 as a placeholder when they entered this country since she couldn't remember the exact date – but she has no way to prove that.
    And the Ohio High School Athletic Association rules are clear: The date on the birth certificate is the one they'll use.
    So for now, Daniel waits. He goes to after-school tutoring and conditioning with his teammates twice a week, and on Friday, he and his coach, Tyler Barrott, sent a petition to OHSAA, hoping they'll make an exception.
    OHSAA has 30 days to respond. If it's a 'No,' Daniel, Barrott and the school's athletic director will appeal. If it's 'No,' again, that's it. Daniel will never again be allowed to play high school soccer.
    He'll stay in school and keep working hard, he said, but he won't be "well."
    "When I play soccer, I feel good," he said. "I really need to play soccer. ... I can't stay at Withrow and not play soccer."

    (Full article here.)

  2. #2
    Voice of Reason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 08
    N. KY.

    I was just about to post this myself after reading it in the paper. It is a unique situation. In general, I am very opposed to bending this rule. However, in this situation and set of facts I would allow the young man to play soccer next year when he is 19.

  3. #3
    True blue (and gold)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 06
    "First, last and always, I am a teacher." - Jesse Stuart

    I feel for the young man, but one way or another there will have to be life after high school soccer, either this year or the next. Isn't there club or recreational soccer. Intramural soccer?

  4. #4
    capt278's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 08

    I understand this situation completely. My daughters are from Ethiopia. It is very, very difficult to get an accurate birth date on any child from a third world country. They don't have the record keeping systems in place that we do in the USA.

    If the parents wanted, they could go to court and get his birth date changed. We had to do that for one of our daughters. Didn't have to get the month or day changed, but the year. It was off by 2-3 years according to bone scans and the dentist.