Utah Soccer Referee Died After Being Punched By 17-Year-Old Player


Ricardo Portillo, the Utah Soccer referee who was punched in the face by a 17-year-old player after issuing a yellow card, has died at 46. Portillo had fallen into a coma after suffering brain swelling. The NYT recounts what happened based on the police report.

The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when Ricardo Portillo issued him a yellow card for pushing an opposing forward trying to score a goal. In soccer, a yellow card is given as a warning to a player for an egregious violation of the rules. Two yellow cards lead to a red card and expulsion from the game.

The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then unleashed a punch to his face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance.

The 17-year-old goalkeeper faces charges of aggravated assault.

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