Youth soccer referee hit over Layton call shares message


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LAYTON – A youth soccer referee is speaking out, claiming a player hit him in the neck during a game last weekend, and he shares a broader message for parents in the soccer community to youth. This is the latest reported incident of misbehavior on the pitch in a weekend.

Nate Lewis said he has been coaching and refereeing youth football for over a decade. For him, the love of the game is really the love for children.

He said he enjoyed “watching the kids celebrate their successes and see them grow and develop.”

The first group of kids he coached, Lewis said, graduated from high school last year. He said he likes to see them having fun and succeeding.

This season so far, Lewis said he noticed the passion on the sidelines in youth football games had turned into tension.

“The emotion and the verbal attacks and the things they say are different. It’s more personal, and it’s more about the call being made or not being made. And I’m noticing that a lot more this year.” , did he declare. said.

On Saturday in Layton, Lewis recounted how he was officiating a Ute Conference game, when he said a 15-year-old was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike behavior.

“I told him he needed to calm down and let the adult help him. And his behavior kept getting worse,” Lewis explained.

The player said he calmed down and Lewis said at that point the adult let the player go.

“He took two steps and punched me,” Lewis said, describing what happened next. “And then luckily other adults were there and stepped in and were able to step in and escort him off the pitch.”

He took two steps and punched me. And then luckily other adults were there and stepped in and were able to step in and escort him off the field.

–Nate Lewis

Lewis said he was punched in the neck/throat area and Conference Ute were excellent in their quick response and couldn’t have handled the situation better after the incident.

But he worries about what led to this.

Lewis said the game got emotional and the referees warned the coaches he was getting emotional, but he didn’t see enough intervention to quell those emotions.

“It’s more about the behavior that led to this and the interaction of adults,” he said. “As things escalated the adults could have stepped in and defused more quickly. As officials we were left alone and there wasn’t much help.”

KSL have reported how a situation escalated in Herriman on Saturday during a Ute conference football game, also involving rising tensions. Witnesses said it appeared coaches and parents rushed onto the pitch. A couple attending another game to watch a grandson play said they saw punches being thrown and a third witness described the scuffle as a “fight”.

A video sent to KSL by two sources who wished to remain anonymous shows the entire fight. Adults are seen running onto the pitch after a referee is called. Several more start sprinting on the ground and then people start pushing their arms around in some cases. At one point, a crowd of people jostle with referees caught in the chaos.

People are yelling profanities, as other adults try to break down the instigators and push people away from each other.

Ute Conference investigated the fight and reviewed footage from the match. On Monday, the organization determined that no punches were thrown and no fights ensued, but coaches and parents were on the field “acting in an unruly and unsportsmanlike manner.”

“UC will act quickly with ejections and suspensions for violating our code of conduct and rules of civility. Unfortunately, people should never act like this at a sporting event, especially a football match 9 years,” said Jeff, executive director of the Ute conference. Gorringe wrote in a statement.

Regarding the incident with Lewis at Layton, Gorringe wrote in a message that they would not discuss situations involving minors.

“We do not tolerate bad behavior and will deal with it appropriately,” he wrote.

The volatility of parents and coaches is where it begins. It’s about coaches who help us control the sidelines and parents who realize that if you can’t be there to support and encourage your kids, then there’s something to look into.

–Nate Lewis

The incident in Herriman, coupled with what Lewis has been through, is why he urges parents, coaches and other adults at youth football matches not to fuel tensions or allow emotions to run wild. intensify.

He said children have fun and see the emotions off the sidelines and feed off of them. He strongly believes that sideline behavior is what can trigger situations like the one he found himself in with the player.

Lewis asks parents to do their best to focus on the game and not the emotions around the game.

“Parent and coach volatility is where it starts,” he said. “It’s about coaches helping us control the touchlines, and parents realizing that if you can’t be there to support and encourage your kids, then there’s something to look at there. “, did he declare.


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Lauren Steinbrecher

Lauren Steinbrecher is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and multimedia journalist who joined KSL in December 2021.

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