ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A soccer league says one of their players is accused of crossing the line and now police are investigating.
A 22-year-old recreational league soccer player is accused of punching a referee who’s only 16-years-old.
The punch is said to have happened during a Sunday game hosted by the Albuquerque Soccer League (ASL). The league has confirmed that it is taking action against the player, while the teenage referee’s parents have filed a police report.
“I was livid, I was very upset,” said Angela Shafer, parent of the 16-year-old who was allegedly hit.
As a long-time rec-league soccer player herself, Shafer says the alleged punching incident is nothing she’d ever expect to hear of.
“Never has a child been struck before so this is the first time and I want (violent behavior) to stop,” said Shafer.
Shafer says her 16-year old referee son was punched by a player during an ASL game at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex. While she did not see the alleged incident for herself, Shafer says multiple witnesses saw a 22-year-old player punch her teenage son shortly after he had issued the player a red card.
“As my son was writing down his notes, like the referees do, the guy came up and punched him from behind twice on the side of his face and down by his jaw,” said Shafer.
Shafer, who doesn’t want her 16-year-old son to be identified, says her son did nothing to provoke being hit.
It’s an accusation that Albuquerque Soccer League officials say they’re acting on.
“We have initiated by notifying the player of the suspension,” said Mike Edwards, treasurer of the Albuquerque Soccer League.
Edwards identified the accused player as Said Aguilera. Edwards says in nearly 40 years running the league, there have only been two other accusations of players hitting referees. Edwards says the behavior is inexcusable.
“I take this very, very seriously,” said Edwards.
Shafer says she is also taking it seriously. She says she’s filed a police report with the Santa Ana Pueblo Police.
“We are pressing charges,” said Shafer.
“This is someone that was out of control that clearly got the foul, and could not control himself from hurting a 16-year-old,” said Shafer.
WISH-TV’s sister station KRQE reached out to the accused player Monday evening on Facebook, but didn’t get a response before 10 p.m.
Shafer says her son is still recovering from some bruising on his face.
The Santa Ana Pueblo Police Department is investigating the case, but they haven’t filed any charges yet.