It’s safe to say that it hasn’t been a good week for sportsmanship among teen athletes and their coaches. Days after a 21-year-old coach reportedly stabbed a young soccer player at a major Swedish international tournament, a Mexican player at another event in Northern Ireland violently booted a Northern Irish youth international squarely in the head.
The second incident has gained major international attention, in large part because it included graphic video of the fight in question and the disturbing kick to the skull. It came during a game between Mexico and Northern Ireland in the annual Milk Cup, an under-20 international event which hosts teams from around the globe.
The full scale brawl included the entire bench of both teams and led to an early conclusion of the match in the 89th minute. The brawl followed an earlier red card for the Mexican player Kevin Gutierrez, who was penalized for kicking out. That banishment was the fourth of the game, following three other players — Mexico’s goalie Raul Gudino and Carlos Arreola and Northern Ireland’s Robbie McDaid — who were sent off following a fight in the second half.
As reported by the Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland eventually won the contest 2-1, though it trailed before the initial tripartite red card episode. Things could have been very different if the initial fight had never broke out.
The case in Sweden was even less understandable and more vindictive and calculated. It occurred after a game in the Gothia Cup, an event put on by the Gothenburg-based club BK Hacken, and is sometimes called the World Youth Cup for it’s broad reach; in 2014 it brought together more than 1,600 teams from more than 80 nations, according to IceNews.
As reported by SverigesRadio.se, after a game at the 2014 tournament a group of players from a victorious team was heading back to their hotel when they were attacked by a coach from the team they had just defeated. The 21-year-old coach stabbed one of the players in the stomach, with the others scurrying terrified into nearby woods to avoid being attacked.