May 01, 2013

Rec Soccer Ref in Critical Condition After Player's Punch: A referee in a recreational soccer league in Taylorsville, Utah, has been hospitalized in critical condition after being punched by a teen player he had just yellow carded. The 17-year-old had just been assessed the penalty when he struck the ref in the head. Though the injury appeared minor, the ref was found in the hospital to have suffered serious internal head injuries.

posted by rcade to soccer at 08:53 AM - 7 comments

Wish I could make some insightful observation about the consequences of ratcheting up levels of competition and anger in America (and I'm sure some will), but suffice it to say that this is an awful thing to have done and something that could greatly alter the course of this kid's life (and the ref's as well, obviously).

By the way, article says the player is 17, not 14.

posted by holden at 09:15 AM on May 01

Wish I could make some insightful observation about the consequences of ratcheting up levels of competition and anger in America

How about in Russia where the reverse occurred and a linesman attacked a player?

posted by yerfatma at 11:19 AM on May 01

When I was doing Babe Ruth baseball umpiring, I considered the boys of the ages of 13 and 14 the worst behaving kids on the field. This is when the testosterone is first running, and these kids seem to have the idea they are the roughest, toughest people on the field. The best part of working the plate is that you are wearing a mask, hard protector on the chest, a cup, leg pads, and shoes with steel toe inserts and instep protection. If anyone is stupid enough to throw down on you, he really doesn't have anything to hit. I never thought soccer refereeing would be more dangerous than baseball, but I guess it is.

posted by Howard_T at 05:22 PM on May 01

Can the paragraph describing the post (the age) be corrected? Seems to be confusing people.

posted by dyams at 07:34 PM on May 01

The player will be banned for life, for a start, then he'll face whatever legal action the ref wants to take.

I started reffing at age 14, and my daughter also qualified and reffed for a few years. Fortunately the only problems we both had came from parents, and they were verbal rather than physical abuse.

I'd suspect that the player involved in this case is the "type" who would also end up assaulting their teacher, their classmates or someone else who happened to look at him the wrong way. Whatever the reasons for his violent behaviour (and I'm not even going to guess what that might be), there's no place on a sports field, or in the community, for this kind of thing.

posted by owlhouse at 09:15 PM on May 01

I updated the post to reflect the player's age. Seventeen is old enough to know that a rec league ref is spending his free time helping you and should be treated with respect.

Before my son's soccer game last weekend, I saw some kids around age 11 who must be in a traveling league or some other advanced league. They were really good, but they worked the refs constantly. I saw a nephew's national under-17 team play some African kids a decade ago at Disney World, and the slightest contact made them fall to the ground as if shot by a sniper.

I wish the highest levels of pro soccer would do more to end the grandstanding, diving and complaining. Poor sportsmanship is being passed down.

posted by rcade at 10:43 AM on May 02

Ricardo Portillo, the referee, has died.

posted by Etrigan at 11:02 AM on May 05

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