All-Star Boys’ Soccer Player Playing For Carver High Girls’ Team This Year

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Kevin Ginnetty is no stranger to playing varsity soccer.

Although he is a junior at Carver Middle High School, he is in his fourth season as a varsity soccer player. He was on varsity on the boys’ team when he was in eighth grade and he was one of their better players last year. The Carver boys went 8-3-1 last year and won a South Shore League title in a coronavirus-shortened season. Ginnetty was a South Shore League all-star, one of five players on the team last year to earn the honor.

It’s extremely rare for a boy to play on the high school girls’ soccer team in Massachusetts. However, it can be legal. 

The Carver High school boys’ soccer team does not exist this season; only seven players registered to try out after the team graduated 10 seniors last year. A soccer team usually has 11 players on the field at a time.

Since there is no boys’ team at the school this year, that means boys were eligible to try out for the girls’ team. Ginnetty did and he made the team.

Ginnetty, who is listed as a midfielder on his team’s roster this season, said he has enjoyed the experience thus far.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” Ginnetty told NewBostonPost following his team’s road game against Cohasset on Wednesday, October 13. “Everybody’s been welcoming”

Ginnetty said he had friends on the girls’ team before he started playing for them and they helped encourage him to come play.

“At first, I wasn’t sure, but I felt very welcome even before I was on the team,” he said. “People were saying that they would love to have me on the team.”

And while many would argue that the skill level in high school boys’ soccer is higher than the skill level of high school girls’ soccer due to the biological differences between boys and girls, Ginnetty said he doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t see a difference,” he said. “Everybody’s been fantastic who we’ve played against.”

He noted that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs most high school sports in Massachusetts, does not have different rules for boys’ and girls’ soccer. 

Ginnetty also said that he’s just glad to be playing soccer this fall.

“I’m extremely thankful to get the opportunity because at first, I didn’t think I was gonna get to have a season and now I’m here playing,” he said.

Following Carver’s 5-2 loss to Cohasset on Wednesday, October 13, the team fell to 2-7-1 on the season.

The state allows him to play due to the 1979 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In it, the court ruled that the MIAA’s policy of the time that stated “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful because in the court’s view it violated the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

The Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution states:


All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.


The Equal Rights Amendment was relatively new at the time. It passed at the ballot in the November 1976 general election with 60.4 percent supporting and 39.6 percent opposing, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Every single county voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

Boys playing on girls’ teams are more common in girls’ volleyball than soccer — but far more prominent in field hockey. During the 2019-2020 school year, 15 boys played high school volleyball for girls’ teams in the MIAA while 41 boys played on girls field hockey teams, according to the MIAA — the most recent data available. Those figures include freshman, JV, and varsity teams combined.

Most high schools in Massachusetts have a girls’ volleyball program, but less than one-third have boys’ volleyball teams. Therefore, if a school does not have a boys team, then boys can play with the girls.

That’s what is happening with a pair of players on the Silver Lake High varsity girls’ volleyball team this fall:  senior defensive specialist Evan Barkowsky and senior setter Ryan Meruch. Both are first-year players.

As of the start of this week, Meurch was second on the team with 13 aces in 11 matches for Silver Lake. Barkowsky had averaged 2.6 digs per set — the most of any player on the team, according to MaxPreps. Although they’re both varsity contributors, they’re not carrying their team. The Lakers were 1-10 this season as of the start of this week.

The way that the Equal Rights Amendment works also means that the Lakers play teams that cannot have boys (who identify as boys) play for them. Both Quincy High School and North Quincy High School compete in the Patriot League for girls’ volleyball, but they have boys’ volleyball teams in the spring. That means at each school boys can’t play on the girls’ team.

North Quincy beat Silver Lake 3-0 on September 15 and Quincy beat Silver Lake 3-0 on October 4. However, as long as those boys’ programs exist, those two high schools from Quincy cannot have a boy who identifies as a boy play for them.

Unlike other sports, the MIAA has different rules for boys playing on girls’ volleyball teams than it does for girls playing on those same teams.

The MIAA does not allow male players to play in the front row; this also means that they cannot participate in an attempted block, according to its handbook. However, the MIAA told NewBostonPost that this rule does not apply to biological males who identify as transgender girls. 

Meanwhile, there are no boys’ high school field hockey teams in Massachusetts, so boys playing on girls’ teams are more prevalent.

It is the sport where boys playing against girls has received the most attention in the press in recent years, particularly because of the success some teams have enjoyed in part thanks to talented male players on their teams.

This year, senior defenseman Owen deMars of Westford Academy and senior midfielder Nico Campbell of Wellesley High are two of the many boys playing field hockey. 

deMars is a returning player for Westford Academy. He was a Dual County League all-star last year, his first year with the team. He came out for field hockey last year because the MIAA pushed its high school football season back last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, playing games in March and April. He was one of five boys in the program last year, according to The Westford Academy Ghostwriter; two were on varsity and three were juniors on junior varsity. The other varsity player graduated and the three JV players went back to playing football this year, the football team’s roster shows.

Although Westford Academy has a boy playing on the team this season, it is not a powerhouse program. Westford Academy was 5-5-1 as of the start of this week after starting the season with four straight losses.

Like deMars, Campbell started playing high school field hockey last year and is a second-year varsity player. Campbell is helping Wellesley put together a strong season; the team was 6-1-1 as of the start of this week.


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