Man threatens soccer referee during girls' game, police say

SEATTLE -- Police say one man deserves more than a red card. He flipped out at a children’s soccer game and threatened to kill one of the referees.

The ref, who reported this incident to the police, did not know exactly who the man is. But it’s believed it was a parent of one of the kids, upset about a call on the field.

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Seattle. It can also be one of the most intense.

“People take it seriously,” Kyle Gwilt said. “When it doesn't go their way, they don't respond that well.”

He has seen that when he has played in adult leagues.

“People usually take it out on one another, because you can't take it out on the ref. If you take it out on the ref, it takes it away from the game.”

But this weekend, one man at a game at Memorial Stadium did take it out on the ref. He threatened to kill the official after a match involving girls from Whitman Middle School, police said.

“It’s mind-boggling, it's crazy,” said Corey Green, who sees a lot of games working at Cal Anderson Field. “I don't think people should say that, that's not right. Especially parents and you have kids on the field playing, that's just not respectful.”

“I think they need to stop putting their own importance in their kids' sports and their kids' accomplishments,” adds Gwilt. “If they didn't do well or live up to expectations, they try to put them on their kids.”

Both men say sports are supposed be fun, especially when kids are involved.

“Be careful,” Green advises parents. “Don't let your feelings get involved in your kids' sports. Just don't do it.”

Police are investigating this incident. They are trying to identify the suspect, and determine whether he was just speaking out in the heat of the moment, or if he had the means and intent to actually hurt someone.