SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A referee is opening up and sharing his story days after he and another referee were roughed up at a soccer game in Southwest Miami-Dade.
Speaking through a translator Friday, Julian Barrientos provided a play-by-play of Sunday evening’s melee during the last game he officiated at Kendall Soccer Park, located in the area of Southwest 80th Street and 127th Avenue.
Barrientos said his co-worker, Yerly Briceño, got the worst of it when he was kicked in the face after being knocked down.
But Barrientos said refereeing the game was no picnic for him, either.
With Briceño on the ground in pain, Barrientos said he was punched in the back of his head.
“[The player] threw a punch at me, and as I try to dodge, he manages to hit me in the head,” said Barrientos.
Barrientos, who has officiated professional soccer games in his native Argentina, said the wild fight erupted when players disagreed with his calls. Then, a player really crossed the line.
“When his teammates let him go, he immediately acted,” said Barrientos. “He came from the side with full force, threw a punch to my head. After that, like two steps later, he kicks my colleague.”
Cellphone video of the kick and fight went viral on social media.
Briceño wound up hospitalized with injuries to his face and head, but Barrientos said he took his lumps as well.
“I have a hematoma here on my head. I think my colleague got the worst of it, but I also took a hard hit,” he said.
Attorney Andres Vidales is representing Briceño. He said he wants the player who attacked the men arrested.
“It’s an aggravated battery. Any aggravated battery on a sports official is a felony,” he said.
Miami-Dade Police said they have assigned a detective to the case, which remains under investigation.
“Who was the person that actually did this?” said Vidales.
Vidales said Briceño is also suffering from psychological trauma.
As of Friday night, police have not made an arrest.
If you have any information on this incident or the player involved, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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