Soccer referee punched during game dies of injuries

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  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    May 7, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    I am just stupefied at that situation. I can only hope this person goes to prison for doing something that nasty. People give of their time and love to coach young people, I use to coach little league baseball, parents got so vile I moved the game to the afternoon when most were working. I tried to tell them not to criticize the boys, sadly they kept going. Its bad enough when a young man strikes out or makes a bad play, they don't need to hear it from the parents. I hope each of you will act in goodness and if you see anyone acting up mention something to them about it. this tradgedy should of never happened, and the excuse I didn't think I hit him that hard is hardly plausible.

  • midvale guy MIDVALE, UT
    May 6, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    People need to be held accountable for their actions. I don't care what his excuse is it is not valid, Someone is dead. We all need to be less self absorbed, our society is paying the price for selfishness everywhere. We must start drawing a line in the sand so selfishness and ego have no payoff. There is a spiritual reason for all of this but what is important is what happens here in the physical world. Let's enforce the laws on the books and let this deters others in making these same senseless mistakes.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    May 6, 2013 12:18 p.m.


    It is remarkable that someone like you, who postures himself as supremely merciful and forgiving, obviously thinks, simultaneously, that it is okay to punch people. You asked: "At any age, including when you were a minor, have either of you ever shoved, pushed, or punched anyone?"

    No, I haven't, MormonSean, as a matter of fact. How about that.

    But that doesn't make any difference. Punching people in the face or head is a remarkably VIOLENT act. It is alarming that you would think that it is normal, or okay. I think your attitude is extremely dangerous to society.

    And regarding the "minor" punch. Witness reports indicate that the punch was a POWERFUL blow to the head. The initial injury was THOUGHT to be minor. However, not all injuries are visible or obvious at first.

    And it is horrifying that your compassion for the perpetrator seems to have eclipsed your sympathy for the deceased and his family.

    You yourself are not able to bring the deceased back to life. Therefore you really have no right to suggest that the perpetrator be given a pass in the name of "forgiveness."

    I recommend you do some serious soul searching.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    May 6, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    @ Neanderthal
    Pheonix, AZ

    So out of the player and the ref, you think it is the ref that needed to change his behavior?

    Wow, I mean WOW!

    I think the player was 100% out of line. All fault to the player.

    The ref did what he was supposed to do. No fault to the ref.

    If that is all you think of refs, perhaps we should have refs officiate the game from a safety booth, like up by the announcers box. Or better yet, let the animals play soccer with no officials. Just let them play as rough as they want. If they assault each other, okay. Want to go sign your kids up for that?

  • MormonSean Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    idablu & EightOhOne,

    At any age, including when you were a minor, have either of you ever shoved, pushed, or punched anyone?

    Have you?

  • Lowgun Austin, Travis, TX
    May 5, 2013 10:31 p.m.

    The 17 year old "kid" obviously has anger problems, and this is probably not the first time he has lost control. Further investigations should determine that. First time or not, he sucker-punched the ref in a cowardly act, and has to bear the responsibility for that. He deserves to be tried as an adult for murder/manslaughter, and I hope he spends years in jail. A sad story for everyone.

  • Neanderthal Pheonix, AZ
    May 5, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    Oh no...

    Lesson learned... Soccer refs, when you pull out a yellow (or any other color card) don't get so close to the player. Don't get in his face with it. Give yourself some space to duck or run if needed. Obviously, someone getting a card is going to be frustrated by the call. You might have a hot head on your hands like as what seems to have happened here... and look at the mess all have on their hands now... a dead ref, a kid that might have to spend a good share of his life behind bars, and will have to live with the pain of the incident for most of his life. Sad, sad, sad.

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    May 5, 2013 9:51 p.m.

    @ MormonSean

    i always see you making the argument that punching others is a pretty common practice amongst americans. i beg to differ. even if your intent is not to kill, anytime you physically hit someone, your intent IS to hurt someone. and if you are willing to hurt someone, you must also be willing to accept any consequences that come with your actions

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    May 5, 2013 9:43 p.m.


    "Those who want to cast stones are more guilty than those they cast them at. They further the hatred they pretend to condemn."

    So, if I seek justice for this senseless act, I am more guilty? How does that work? And what "hatred" are you talking about? This isn't about race or bigotry. An innocent man who was serving his community was KILLED by a kid who didn't like the call in a sporting event! He may not have intended to kill him but the assault was deliberate and irresponsible. This was not an accident! If there is no significant consequence or punishment, what message does that send to others who may have anger issues.

    There are thousands of drivers on the roads every day who are drunk and cause no harm. But the one who recklessly kills a family of four should not be punished because he didn't mean to hurt anyone? This sad story is the same type of situation.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    May 5, 2013 9:17 p.m.

    "The man was not repeatedly beaten, nor was this an attempt on his life. It was a punch that resulted in a small injury, which due to other physical circumstances with this man resulted in an increase of problems which lead to his death."

    "It was due to the swelling that his condition changed for the worse."

    You are wrong. There weren't other physical circumstances that led to this man's death. They were all a direct result of his trauma to the head. Exactly what do you think caused the brain swelling? Many serious brain injuries manifest initially as seemingly minor symptoms, but as the intracranial pressure increases from brain bleeding and swelling, lack of blood flow ensues and brain cell death results.

    Your sentiments, though compassionate for the perpetrator, lack accountability, which seems to be a growing and dangerous trend in our society.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    May 5, 2013 8:56 p.m.

    Talk about Justice and Mercy in this case.

    First thoughts and prayers to the family who lost their dad. No words can help other than we are thinking of you.

    As for the young man. Justice must be served. Yet I think we all know his intent was not to kill this man. Mercy needs to be implemented as well. 99 times out of a 100 nothing other than a headache or a bruise would come of this. Does not make it right but I feel for this young man who in essesance has now ruined his life. I guess the question is what is the proper Justice for a fit of anger that turned out to be a million times worse than what anyone would have thought. How much Mercy do we give? There has to be a balance. I do not think we need to ruin all of his life yet he needs to have some punishment. Not sure not playing sports is it. (Part of ot maybe but not all)

    Glad I am not the judge. Either in this life or the next.

  • WPB Boston, MA
    May 5, 2013 7:25 p.m.

    From Boston, MA: I had no idea what the name of the primary newspaper was in Salt Lake City; I had to search that out. I've followed this horrific story for a few days - - my heart reaching out to the family of the Soccer Referee. When the news came of the man's death today, I felt compelled to share my sincerest of sympathies and condolences with the man's family.

    Our Father, which art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy will be done in earth,
    As it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive them that trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom,
    The power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever.

  • MormonSean Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:38 p.m.


    I didn't imagine the kid merely did something just like so many others. It was reported that the initial injury caused by the boy were minor. It was due to swelling that his condition changed for the worse.

    I do not want to hang this boy.
    I do not want to put him in prison for 10 years.
    I do not want to mark him a felon for life, never to be trusted.

    I simply want to help him change his behavior (which may have already taken place), and help him to show others the truth. If he can help others be less violent during sporting then how is it not better that this tragedy serve to prevent future tragedies?

    Those who want to cast stones are more guilty than those they cast them at. They further the hatred they pretend to condemn.

    The best punishment is helping him change himself where necessary and together helping others change as well. The requirements of justice and mercy can both be met. This provides a uniquely praiseworthy outcome.

    Unless you solely desire to be executioner, what more could you hope for or want?

  • WHAT NOW? Saint George, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:05 p.m.

    Condolences to the family.

    What a tragedy...

    IF... the reporting of this incident, is accurate...

    The family, of the young man, better hire a good attorney.


    How close is the young man to age 18?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    In some countries, they have gone to war over soccer games. With video games and going to reset or starting over is not the same as real life. Killing, maiming, or injuring people is a lot different in real life than on the video screen. Putting death strategy or even thinking about a bad call going physical is not a good thing to constantly have in a person's brain from playing games or even the many movies or videos out there. Kids have experience in seeing violence, even on the field of hard knocks. Bullying happens in these children's environment more and more. War, boxing, wrestling and other forms of violence don't always go by Hoyle's rules and some don't want to have referees enforce all the rules.

    We are a nation of law and order and that is supposedly what makes us different from other nations. We went through a Civil War because of differences between the sides. That war cost us more than the deaths of many people, soldiers and civilians including men, women and children.

    We don't go to war over a soccer game. Soccer is more benign than American football?

  • TaipeiModerate New Haven, CT
    May 5, 2013 5:51 p.m.

    Definitely an adult murder charge. I don't think he will get aggravating circumstances hit to this. However, he will be pleading to 15 years at the least. Knowing the reputation of Utah's DAs and how high-profile this case is, he may be stuck with 20 or 30 years.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 5, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    So if I'm Eisenhower Junior High I don't let people play on the field unless I know who they are and what association they are with.

    Here's some other problems. Provo School District has spent literally tens of thousands of dollars resoding parts of its practice fields after several serious leg injuries. I believe much of the problem was severe overuse of the fields by other people than Provo HS patrons. This has been a costly thing in many ways ranging from resoding costs, injury costs, the actual school soccer team being unable to play on its field for much of their season, along with loss of space for the P.E. classes for much of the school year.

    But the bottom line is that the official or any player associated with this "league" has no legal protection. Not only has this family lost their father, they are likely to be saddled with medical bills that could be six figures. Sanctioned leagues provide protection/insurance in the event of catastrophic injury. I know these "leagues" will continue to exist but whether they play on your local school field can be controlled.

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    May 5, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    Furthermore, Teachers and parents will be pointing at this incident as an example of what can happen - a cautionary tale to potential hot-heads. My daughter's teacher talked about it today in church. Please, young people learn from this.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 4:43 p.m.


    "clearly the intent wasn't to kill. ... Let him go. He won't do this again. Forgive."

    So if he "only" wanted to inflict bodily harm, that's okay in your book? He won't do that again? How do you know? the same could be said of any criminal. "He won't do it again."

    Forgive? So then shouldn't we forgive ALL criminals then, by letting them ALL go?

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    May 5, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    I was dismayed to read this news. How sad for everyone. Folks, it could be that a decent young man had a foolish fit of temper that ended the life of a good man and will change the lives of many others.
    sad. "School thy feelings, oh, my brother" has been going through my mind.... "do not it's emotions smother, but let wisdom's voice control"
    To me this further evidence of a more rude, undisciplined society in which we live. There are terrible consequences to the wild venting of temper. Everyone needs to get emotions under control. *sad*

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 2:47 p.m.

    @Howard Beal

    Your points make perfect sense, of course.

    Here is the problem:

    [KSL] "The teams playing were not affiliated with the Utah Youth Soccer Association, which represents about 50,000 players across the state...

    [Tribune] "The game was part of a 'rogue league' unaffiliated with the association or any city or town recreation department, association CEO Andrew Hiatt said."

    Unfortunately, we have here in Utah some youth soccer operations which function out of the regular bounds of bona fide sanctioning bodies and therefore wouldn't necessarily be affected by the additional preventative measures you aptly suggest.


    "It was a punch that resulted in a small injury, which due to other physical circumstances with this man resulted in an increase of problems which lead to his death."

    YOU do NOT know that, sir! The fact is, ANY punch has the potential to inflict death on ANYONE. "Punching" is not the triviality you imply that it is.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    May 5, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    So sad of this outcome and so sorry for the loss. When are we going to see the good things to get rid of those violance, angers, hates and GREEDS? Rest in Peace Riccardo.

  • BBLVR Bountiful, UT
    May 5, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    I pray and light a candle for the father and his family. I light a candle and pray that the killer gets what he deserves.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    clearly the intent wasn't to kill. I don't think we need to treat him like he meant to kill.

    Let him go. He won't do this again.


  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    May 5, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    Every time a parent, coach, fan yells at a ref, the young people are watching. I am sure there were many people who influenced this 17 year old's choice to hit the official.

    I hope the results will influence many more to choose more wisely.

    PS At ReAL games many choose to yell "U-tah" instead of "you-suck..." at the opposing team's goalie kicks. Man would be better served if everyone chose to respect everyone else, even those wearing an opponents or officials uniform.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    May 5, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    This was criminal assault. People seem to assume that the killer will only have his conscience to punish him. I disagree. Firstly his conscience doesn't seem been very active or to have held him back from an attack with no provocation (other than the normal disciplinary procedures which you must expect in any sport). I believe the killer is in custody; he should be tried as an adult in my opinion.

    I hope this will be a sobering moment for sports in the schools and anywhere else. Discipline needs to be stricter and violence should not be tolerated.

    I have often stated to my spouse that some of the violent attacks by players in professional sports are criminal assaults and should all result in the criminal prosecution of their perpetrators. This is not sport and not sportsmanlike.

    It is also to be hoped that early warning signs of violence and bad sportsmanship in young players should be handled betimes.

  • Mom Johnson West Jordan, UT
    May 5, 2013 12:38 p.m.


    I was a High School Dance Coach and one of my team members did not make the cut to perform at half time because she did not follow the rules of the team and did not know the routine. She admitted to rule breaking and not knowing the routine yet her father stood behind the fence where I was standing, during the half time performance, with the rest of the team surrounding me and threw himself at the fence, swearing at me in an outrage. The only thing the school administration did was send a police to escort me off of the field. They should have removed the angry father. For many years I have thought of that and the anger that the father had over one missed performance. It still scares me that there are parent's who disregard rules and regulations when allowing their children to participate in activities. It also says a lot about the school systems that no longer support teachers/coaches/etc. because they are afraid of law suits.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    May 5, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    A blow to the head can kill anyone. The subdural hematoma is very life-threatening, with a very slim chance on recovery.

    Please be kind - and really think before you act in haste. That ten second counting can save a life.

    How we all wish we could just roll back time and stop this from happening. There are so many affected by this tragedy - the family, the friends, the young man and his family, and the players of the league with the refs.

    My heart goes out to them all.

  • vdubbin' Ogden, UT
    May 5, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    "Soccer is a gentleman's sport in South America (Continent, not country), but not in the US"? Seriously? They have armed guards for the refs leaving games, and people die in violence every year! In South America". Apart from this unfortunate incident, how many soccer-related deaths do we have here in the past decade?

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    My deepest sympathies to the family.

    May we all look into the mirror and put sports into perspective, and elevate our own behavior.

  • ImaCaMan Oceanside, CA
    May 5, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Part of soccer's internationally recognized "hooligan" mentality practiced by both its players and fans. It is not a gentlemen's sport. So sad to see this happen to a good family man who truly loved the sport. He however, was a gentleman.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    May 5, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    A great thing that could come out of this would be a reexamination of sportsmanship and perspective. One of the worst things that could come from this would be (as JBQ advocates) charging this boy as an adult or charging him at all for things such as manslaughter. As others have posted, hitting someone in the head is something we condone as sport (boxing, MMA...). Fights, while not to be condoned, do happen and this outcome was a fluke. Nothing the legal system can do or would attempt to do would serve society in this matter or punish this player beyond the remorse which he will already feel. The opportunity exists (again) to show forgiveness... and to let the boy and his parents chart a course of restitution... where one life sadly remains taken, but not exacerbating the tragedy by taking two lives. And yes, taking whatever steps which help soccer and youth sports, and all sports, be better, safer and kept in perspective.

  • MormonSean Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    The man was not repeatedly beaten, nor was this an attempt on his life. It was a punch that resulted in a small injury, which due to other physical circumstances with this man resulted in an increase of problems which lead to his death.

    If they 'throw the book' at this kid, we ought to punish every punch in America the same way.

    I feel for this man's family, but we have no place casting stones at this kid. Give him community service and an anger management class if you want. But a felony is ridiculous. It's a farce, not justice. If any of you demanding more have EVER thrown a punch, even ONCE your life then you are as guilty as this boy.

    One life was lost, many lives are in pain. We don't need to ruin another and hurt his loved ones anymore than they already are. I will be watching the judge of this boy very closely.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    These "leagues" need to be chartered with some organization. While no money can ever compensate for a family's loss of their father, there will be medical expenses etc. Something tells me the boy's family would be unable to provide any financial compensation. But organized leagues usually have charters and catastrophic insurance policies. Some leagues also provide sportsmanship classes for parents, players etc. as a mandatory thing before participation. Also, there is no way as a school or school district, if I was in charge, let these leagues play on their field unless they had a charter with a legitimate organization. My heart goes out to this family of this referee. This is a very sad situation and I hope the local community can rally around his family.

  • DH48 West Jordan, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    I can only echo what Eliyahu from Pleasant Grove had to say, we know nothing of this boy or his family so to judge his parents would be very unfair. Look around,how many kids with a very good upbringing do things that are unimaginable.

    To me the greater issue is with our society in general that glamorizes violent behavior. We are in a precarious position and unless we bring ethics and morality back in to our society the position will only worsen. People are so excited about gun laws these days but the issue runs so much deeper.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Deepest sympathies to the Portillo family. This is not an American problem, it is a world problem. Violence among fans and players has escalated both here and abroad. At many sporting events it is acceptable, if not expected, to throw items and direct vulgarity at opposing fans or teams. That culture incites violence and increases with each season. This tragic event was a product of that evolution. Addressing the problem is long overdue. What a sad wake up call.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 5, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    Our condolences to the Portillo family. This is sad.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    Life in our culture today has become so cheapened that if you don't like what someone says, does
    or even how they look at you, you feel free to retaliate.
    I feel so sorry for these young girls who have lost their father to such a stupid, uncalled reaction, whether right or wrong his call.
    This young man should be tried as an adult as an example to other youth of his age that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
    Every life is precious and until this is respected we will continue to have incidents such as this.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    May 5, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    G L WS:

    "...race issues existed but were distant."

    Really? In the 50s? With all due respect, you must have read a different history book than I did.

    My condolences to Mr. Portillo's family.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    May 5, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    I've always heard it said that we are reaching a tipping point in our obsession with violence and coddling athletes and raising entitled children--that one day this would all lead to a terrible tragedy. Well, I guess that all of those things have come together in a perfect storm and a tragedy so horrible that it simply makes you want to give up on humanity. The 17 year old goalie is responsible. And so am I. And so are you.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    May 5, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    I feel so sad for this family. They lost their father because somebody lost their temper. It's SPORTS people, just a sport! Not worth punching somebody over in a temper tantrum gone wrong.

    My heart aches for this family, and the boy who did it---I know he didn't intend on killing the referee---but sports should not be so important that one feels they need to react AT ALL. Even if the referee were wrong in judgement, it's JUST A SPORT.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    May 5, 2013 8:53 a.m.


    Thanks for your thoughtful, sensitive comments.

    I'm sad for everyone involved.

    May all of us look for ways to improve how we treat one another!

  • hillplus Aurora, CO
    May 5, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    I am so sorry!! So many lives damaged by this one foolish mistake! May God bless all involved.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Sad object lesson about how losing your temper can ruin the rest of your life (or the life of another).

  • roberto Moses Lake, WA
    May 5, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    There are so many things I want to say but shouldn't. I'm ticked that it had to happen, ticked at the young man that did the punching. I haven't read anything about the boys upbringing, so I probably should keep that to my self. I still remember that the testosterone runs deep in some 17 year old boys. He does need to be held responsible for this, and I hope his conscience weighs him down for a long time. Long enough to change his direction so he can become something productive rather than a drain on society.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    May 5, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    Such a sad story on all sides.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 5, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    A sad day for Utah Soccer.

    May God comfort and bless the Portillo family.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    May 5, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    Pretty sad.. One moment of anger and this boy will probably spend time in prison. Blame who you will but the kid has free agency. He will be the one paying for his moment of anger. Maybe at least it will teach us all when angry to kick the ground or a chair or something other than a living being. I am with Paul James a old sportscaster who talked of boxing and why he never reported on it. He said " I don't condone a sport where the main goal is to knock your opponite senseless.. " I don't know what they call it but this newer kind of kick boxing falls in that catagory. Other sports are rough enough we don;t need violence as the main goal of a sport..

  • JBJepp Toquerville, UT
    May 5, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    How terribly sad and tragic a situation to have occurred. I pray the Lord's Spirit will be able to have influence upon all who are touched by this occurrence. The family of the referee is going to need this influence in such a way as can only come through the peace and understanding that can come from such a source. The perpetrator of the blow is in dire need of knowing something of a higher source of reckoning for such actions, peace for him will never truly come in any other way. I feel something more must be known and understood by those of us others who have witnessed this unfortunate drama unfold. There is much clamor for justice to be administered and much directed towards the perpetrator and to his family. I think we all know and understand more deeply than just these only.., "it takes a community to raise a child!" May God bless this family..,

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    May 5, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    With prayers and sympathy to the Portillo family. He was obviously a dedicated man with a gentle heart and a spirit of service to the immigrant community. There is no doubt that this individual should now be charged as an adult.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 5, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    Farmington, UT

    That is one of the BEST comments I've read here in a very long time. This is just one more tragic example of a much larger problem in America.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:43 a.m.

    Someone once said that Soccer is a gentleman's game played by ruffians, while Rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen. This violence only mirrors what I read about soccer matches in Europe where both players and fans go overboard. To me the question is not more security at the matches, but better players on the field, with more character and discipline.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    May 5, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    I am deeply saddened by this tragedy and my hear goes out to both the victim and that 17 yr old kid and their families. Just wished the doctors were able to do something to save the man's life. This is the ugly side of sports that is very unfortunate.

    May God's blessing and peace brings comfort and forgiveness to all involved in this terrible tragedy.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:31 a.m.

    Jake: Don't be so eager to "blame his upbringing" when we all know nothing about him and his family. Sometimes even the nicest families with parents who do everything right still have a child who turns out to have problems and issues, and who engages in delinquent behavior despite everything his parents, teachers and religious leaders do.

  • Montana Mormon Miles City, MT
    May 5, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    Poor sportsmanship at its absolutely worst has resulted in an utterly senseless outcome. It doesn't get any more tragic than that.

    My deepest condolences go out to everyone, especially to the family of the referee.

  • across the sea Topeno, Finland
    May 5, 2013 6:25 a.m.

    As an Olympic Athletic Trainer (medical) I know injuries take place, some even when uncontrolled anger rages. I hope that the National federation would establish the Portillo Law, that would require ALL players in it's programs to forego an injury prevention and safety course - one of the main items would be to teach why not hit/kick in the head/neck regions - as a prerequicite for licensing players.
    My prayers go to the Portillo family and the young man who was part of this accident. I hope there is forgiveness and love shown. One life ended, hopefully another one is not destroyed also.

    May 5, 2013 5:57 a.m.

    aceroinox, you have some insightful comments, but this incident is only typical of our society nowadays. There's no way to check comparisons by the numbers, but growing up in the '50's, at least in our community, things seemed much more 'gentlemanly' and 'ladylike'. Gun control, immigration, human rights, etc., just were not issues back then; sports was more sportsmanlike, and race issues existed but were distant. Seems to me the problems began to a certain extent in the late '50's with so called 'free love', increased divorce rates, drug abuse, increasing dysfunctional families, and a lack of emphasis on faith in God. Shouldn't that tell us something about current conditions?

    As to human rights issues, positive gains in the same period of time have largely given way to those desiring a more humanistic ideology than a reliance upon the grace of god. Even with the variant interpretations of that belief, things were more positive then than they are now. Government, churches, schools, medical & health institutions are largely powerless to fix many of the problems. We can only do it on our individual levels.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    May 5, 2013 5:54 a.m.

    This will become a big issue. Couches and organizations of all sports will watch the back draft on this. Their is a family that lost their dad and a family that lost their boy. I hope good sportsmanship and manners will be the first step. Their is a million way to kill some one. I hope that couches and sports can become true hero's and teach good sportsmanship.

  • luv2organize Gainesville, VA
    May 5, 2013 5:49 a.m.

    Soccer is not a gentleman s sport where I live in South America. My kids had a live for the game until moving here. It is aggressive and harsh. Not fun. God bless all involved. Such a tragedy.

  • sassyandi Fort Collins, Colorado
    May 5, 2013 5:20 a.m.

    This story just breaks my heart and I'm so very sad for his grieving wife and children. I hope that there be a fund set up to help his family. What a terrible senseless loss.

  • CP Tooele, UT
    May 5, 2013 4:01 a.m.

    I am so sorry this had to happen. He was doing what he enjoyed..Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. May God bless this wonderful man's family with peace.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    May 5, 2013 12:54 a.m.

    As a soccer fan, former player and referee, I am deeply saddened. Soccer tradition has always been a gentlemen's sport. For example: if a player is down and needs medical attention, the player with the ball is expected to deliberately kick the ball out of bounds to allow the coach and trainer to attend to the injured player. Once the injured player has left the field, on the ensuing throw-in, the ball is thrown to the side which kicked the ball out. Something is quite wrong when emotions get this out of hand.

    My heart and prayers go out to Mr. Portillo's family. May the Lord's peace be with them at this difficult time.

    I am concerned also for the young man involved. In a moment of anger he did something he will have to live with forever--not an easy burden to carry.

    If any good is to come of this, perhaps we can begin a dialog as a result of this wake-up call, both on the local and national level, about anger and abusive language in sports, beginning with parents on the sidelines.

  • Sports Nutz Smithfield, UT
    May 5, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    This is horrible news. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  • earthquakejake Logan, UT
    May 4, 2013 11:32 p.m.

    What a sad story. He sounded like a good man. Good luck to his family. I hope justice is served. This 17-year old has issues and I blame his upbringing. Unfortunate situation all around.