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Utah teen charged with homicide in soccer referee's death

The 17-year-old Utah boy is charged with homicide by assault after punching the soccer referee in the head over a yellow card.
Yellow card referee diesEnlarge
Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching referee Ricardo Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card. (AFP/Getty Images)

A Utah teen was charged today with homicide by assault in the death of a soccer referee he punched in the head.

According to police, Ricardo Portillo, 46, was refereeing a game April 27 in a Salt Lake City suburb when he issued the 17-year-old goalie a yellow card for a foul.

The teen began arguing with Portillo and punched him in the side of the head.

Portillo vomited after the punch and was taken to hospital where he slipped into a coma for a week before dying on Saturday. 

More from GlobalPost: Soccer referee dies after being punched in the head by teen player

The district attorney's office said it will seek to try the teen as an adult for the third-degree felony.

The boy was initially charged with aggravated assault, and has been at a junveile detention center since the incident.

He has not been identified because of his age.

Portillo's family said he had been attacked before, but he continued to referee because he loved soccer.

"It was his passion," his daughter, Johana, 26, said.

"We could not tell him no," the London Independent reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/utah-teen-charged-soccer-referee-death