MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Two youth soccer coaches have been suspended following an alleged assault on a teenage referee at an Oklahoma tournament.
The Oklahoma Soccer Association received a misconduct report after the incident allegedly occurred at the Turkey Shootout Tournament in Edmond on Sunday. Two teams of 11-year-olds were playing, one from Lawton and the other from Midwest City.
A video of the incident appears to show one of the Midwest City Soccer Club coaches shoving a teenage referee. The video was posted to the social media page “Offside” on Tuesday and has gotten thousands of views.
The creator of "Offside," Brian Barlow, says there's a referee shortage because of similar incidents. “A lot of times that referee is a kid himself or herself, and they're going to make mistakes. Listen, I am a seasoned referee and every single game I make a mistake. The kids are definitely going to make a mistake,” said Barlow.
The Oklahoma Soccer Association has suspended both coaches until a disciplinary hearing can take place.
The Oklahoma Soccer Association sent the following statement to KFOR:
Oklahoma Soccer Association (OSA) does not tolerate any physical action toward soccer officials of any age and is especially concerned with allegations of referee assault perpetrated by an adult toward a minor referee. OSA received a misconduct report of such an incident occurring on November 3, 2019, in Edmond, Oklahoma. OSA has also received video of the alleged incident. Pursuant to OSA’s disciplinary policy provided by the United States Soccer Federation, OSA immediately suspended both the Head Coach and Assistant Coach from participating in any, and all soccer activities, pending a disciplinary hearing. This means that neither coach may participate in any team practices, meetings, games, coaching activities or attendance at soccer events. The hearing will allow for due process, and if allegations are proven, OSA can impose discipline from a six-month to a lifetime ban from participating in any United States Soccer Federation activity. Eliminating referee abuse and assault is among OSA’s highest responsibilities and behavior of this type will not be tolerated.
The Midwest City Soccer Club released this statement.
“We were made aware of the incident through social media yesterday and have suspended both coaches. The incident has been referred to our protest and disciplinary committee. They will be working alongside the Oklahoma Soccer Association, Edmond Soccer Club and Oklahoma State Referee Association for a resolution. We do not and have never condoned referee abuse within our club and will take a proper stance in this incident.”