Brawl at Florida youth soccer match may bring charges

July 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., July 22 (UPI) -- A Florida youth soccer player may face a felony charge after a large fight broke out following the championship game of a tournament hosted at Disney World.

The match pitted two Florida soccer clubs, Orlando FC/QPR Academy and Pachuca FC Miami, in the under-16 Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel the game was hard fought and after the Orlando team claimed a 2-1 victory, parents and players from the Miami squad charged the field and began hitting and punching Orlando players and their families.

"What made this insane was that the parents cleared the bench," said Matthew Feinberg, whose son Jordan, 16, was treated at Florida Hospital Celebration Health for a concussion and other injuries. "The parents on their team helped their children. They even hit some kids on our team."

No serious injuries were reported though Feinberg said a grandfather of one Orlando player was punched and his pacemaker "went off." The man stayed on the ground for several minutes but was seen later and appeared to have recovered.

Another witness, Jeff Shain, a former Sentinel sports reporter whose son plays for Orlando FC/QPR, said a mother from the Miami team hit his son. The Orlando goalkeeper suffered cleat marks on his face, neck and chest during the brawl.

"There was a pile of 10 kids on him at one point," Shain said.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office investigated the incident and forwarded information on to the Florida state prosecutor's office. Local officials recommended a felony battery charge be filed against one of the Miami players but no charges be filed against adults involved in the incident.

The Sentinel said state prosecutors will have the final say in the matter and full transcripts of deputies' investigations won't be made public until a final determination is made on what if any charges will be filed.

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