MURRAY, Utah — The Utah soccer league that saw one of its referees punched by a teen player and sent into a coma will continue holding games but with security present, its president said Friday.
Mario Vasquez said he’s still in shock about what happened last Saturday to his friend Ricardo Portillo, 46.
He said La Liga Continental de Futbol will continue playing games for children ages 4 to 17 each Saturday at a middle-school field in a Salt Lake City suburb. But he said off-duty police officers will watch over things.
Police say a 17-year-old player in the league punched Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault.
Those charges could be amplified if Portillo dies.
The teen’s name is being withheld because he’s a minor.
Portillo is in a coma at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. He has swelling in his brain and remains in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said at a news conference Thursday.
Portillo’s oldest daughter, 26-year-old Johana Portillo, said Thursday other players have attacked her father before, even breaking his ribs and one of his legs.
His daughters begged him to stop refereeing — his second job — but he continued because he loved soccer.
“It was his passion,” she said. “We could not tell him no.”