CHESTER COUNTY, Pa - A Maryland youth soccer coach is under police investigation for an alleged assault of a referee during a tournament in Chester County over the weekend.
According to West Chester police, the incident happened Saturday around 12:30 p.m. at the Delacy Soccer Fields in East Bradford Township. Sources say a team coach with an Under 14 team from Maryland got into an argument and was issued a yellow card before the confrontation turned physical. FOX 29 was told the ref called police himself and suffered minor injuries. Parents of youth athletes FOX 29 spoke with say news of the alleged assault is disappointing to say the least.
"It shouldn’t be getting that far. To the point to somebody is assaulting another. It is a sport, it's supposed to be fun. They’re supposed to be having a good time and it’s kids," says Nick Santone of Glen Mills.
The match was part of The "Columbus Day Explorers Cup" youth soccer tournament that included dozens of teams from across the region played.
Representatives with "Sideline Soccer Solutions," the company that organizes the tournament won’t say which coach or team was involved. The tournament director tells FOX 29 the company is cooperating with police and have "launched an investigation with its governing body," the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association.
Police are hoping in the age of smartphones and social media that someone may have captured the incident while some parents are left shaking their heads.
"He’s a son, a brother, a sibling whatever. He doesn’t deserve this. He does not deserve that. One bit. None of us" said Andy Maina of West Chester.
There have been no criminal charges filed. Youth soccer officials say any disciplinary action against the coach would most likely come from the Maryland Youth Soccer Association.
The incident comes at a time when many youth sports leagues are facing a major shortage of referees.