Soccer Referee Ricardo Portillo Dies One Week After Attack

Ricardo Portillo


Ricardo Portillo, 46, was refereeing a soccer game last weekend in Salt Lake City, when he called a foul on one team’s goalie.  He gave him a ‘yellow card’.  They were standing close to each other when the seventeen year old boy punched Portillo in the face.  He died Saturday evening.

“The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call. It was initially believed that Portillo had minor injuries as a result of the assault,” according to a Greater Salt Lake police release. “However, he was transported by ambulance to Intermountain Medical Center and was found to have serious internal head injuries. He was listed in critical condition.”  He lapsed into a coma, and died about 9:30 p.m. last night.

They young boy was arrested earlier in the week on a charge of aggravated assault, and is in juvenile hall.  He was scheduled to be formerly charged this week, and will now face additional charges.

Ricardo Portillo’s daughter Johana Portillo, 26, talked of the attack.

“I know if he spends time in jail, like forever, it’s not enough,” she said. “It’s not going to bring my daddy back.”

Portillo told his family of prior attacks while refereeing.  His family asked him to end his participation with the game.

“It was his passion,” Johanna said. “We could not tell him no.”

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express