Florida Christian Supporters Say Soccer Ref Started Postgame Brawl by Punching Player

Earlier this month, a high-school soccer game at Florida Christian's campus in Southwest Miami-Dade ended in chaos. The opposing team's coach says he watched in horror as a swarm of Florida Christian fans and players surrounded a ref and began "pummeling" him. The Miami-Dade Police Department and the Florida High School Athletic Association are investigating, and neither has released any details about what exactly went down on the pitch.

But numerous Florida Christian fans and students tell New Times there's more to the story than an angry crowd taking out its rage on an official. They say the ref actually started the brawl by punching a Florida Christian player.  

Here's one account from a reader who says he's a current Florida Christian student: 
Hello, I am a student from Florida Christian and I was at the game. What happened is that the older brother of one of our players (he is a soccer ref in another league) told him that he had made many bad calls throughout the game. The ref then got angry at him and his father who at this point had also come to talk to the ref. The ref then pushed the father back and so the father's son (who is on the soccer team) was trying to break them up when the ref punched our player. Then our team in his defense went in.
The fight began January 7 at the end of a 2-1 victory for Marathon High School. "The whole Florida Christian team swarmed the ref and started throwing punches at him,” Jim Murphy, Marathon's coach, told the Key West Citizen.

But numerous accounts sent to New Times echo Cabrera's version of how the fight began. Here's what Carlos F. Hernandez, who was at the game, says went down:
Clearly this paper did not have research on what really happened and the version of the opposing team's coach is not true nor did he see all of the incident nor is he telling the truth. My family and I attended this game and this is what really happened.
The ref spent the whole game provocating the FCS players with really bad calls to get them to complain and to give yellow cards, it was pretty obvious for someone who has played soccer.There were also a number of times where there were uncalled penalty kicks and he did not give a call on purpose. So far nothings happened and all the FCS players had a good behaviour to all the provocations.
At the end of the game a FCS player went to talk to the ref just to tell him that he had a terrible game and did it on purpose and instead of preventing and calming the situation and backing up, the ref faced and confronted the kid. Then his father showed up in the scene and he was calm to the point that he was walking to the ref with his hands in his pockets and when he got close to him the ref pushed him and he pushed him back. At this point one of the younger and smaller kids of the team (15 years old) tried to separate the altercation and the ref was out of control and punched the minor in the face and it was at this moment when several kids punched back and started kicked the ref and no one else likes what the article says.
Not all of the FCS players nor fans punched or kicked the ref like the article said. In my opinion an older person always needs to be an example for the youngest, I do not excuse the FCS players behavior, but the ref's behavior was also poor and a total disgrace and so embarrasing and he must be ashamed of himself.

One anonymous fan writes, "I was at the game and the ref was the one that started the fight because he punched one of the Florida Christian kids."

Another adds, "Although the team should not have taken it as far as they did, the ref was the one in the wrong. An official hitting a student? Now that's absurd."

Florida Christian officials haven't responded to New Times' calls regarding the fight. MDPD, meanwhile, confirms it has an open investigation but refused to release an arrest report because of an open internal affairs case; a high-school source says the ref at the center of the fight also works as a cop. 
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink