17-year-old held in fatal punch of soccer referee

A 17-year-old soccer player may face criminal charges in Utah for punching a referee so hard that he died.

Ricardo Portillo was hit by a goalie at a game April 27 in Taylorsville after he saw the goalie shove an opposing player and called a foul on him.

Portillo spent a week in a coma in the hospital where he died.

The goalie is being held in juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault.

Those charges will likely be upgraded, and the player may be charged as an adult.

Johana Portillo said her father had been attacked by players twice before in his eight years refereeing soccer matches — even having his ribs and legs broken.

She said she asked her father to stop because of the risks, but he told her refereeing was his passion.

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