Soccer Referee Dies After Teen Punches Him In The Face

Forty-six-year-old Ricardo Portillo has died. The recreational soccer league referee was punched in the face during a Salt Lake City match in the suburb of Taylorsville.

During a game on April 27, the soccer referee issued a “yellow card” infraction, which led to a 17-year-old player turning around and punching him in the face.

Following the assault, police believed Portillo suffered only minor injuries. Shortly after the assault, though, the soccer referee was taken to the hospital where serious internal head injuries were discovered.

Portillo remained in the hospital for seven days where he was listed in critical condition. On Friday night, Portillo’s daughter Johana told CNN’s Jake Tapper:

“He loved soccer. We just never thought this was going to happen. He loved what he did and it was his passion … The doctor says only a miracle will bring my daddy back.”

Authorities are planning to conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. In the meantime, the teenager responsible for the attack remains in juvenile detention.

The 17-year-old attacker was charged with aggravated assault when the assault first occurred; those charges have since been upgraded.

League president Mario Vasquez tells KUTV that no other complaints have even been brought against the attacker.

The soccer referee was officiating a game for FUT international, a Hispanic soccer league that supports boys from the ages of 5 through 17.

This isn’t the first time such a tragedy has occurred. In December 2012, two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old in the Netherlands beat a 41-year-old linesman during a soccer match. The linesman eventually fell into a coma and then died.