Officials stopped San Luis’ (Ariz.) home boys soccer game against Gila Ridge (Yuma, Ariz.) on Thursday night with less than 10 minutes to play after a fight escalated into a brawl with fans clearing a fence and coming onto the field.
San Luis is sending a full report to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, said David Hines, the AIA’s assistant executive director.
The San Luis Police Department is also involved.
Gary Whelchel, state commissioner of officials for the AIA, said the officiating crew that worked the game is putting together a report. The game ended with 9 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.
Video of the fight was obtained by Yuma TV station KYMA. The fight broke out along the sideline. It shows people climbing over the fence.
“Misconduct and fights occur in soccer games, and they are handled by the officials as per the associated rules,” Whelchel wrote in an email. “The players that were fighting and involved have been identified via the video, and proper consequences, per rule, will be applied.
“The video of the incident is not a pretty sight, and is not a reflection of high school sporting activities in Arizona. Our concern is the actions of the spectators/fans/parents that jumped the fence, entered the field of play and became involved in the fray. That issue will be addressed by San Luis High School.”
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Both schools have been asked to investigate and work with San Luis police in the investigation.
David Hines, assistant executive director of the AIA, said he has been in contact with San Luis Athletic Director Rob Jankowski. Hines said that Jankowski is in the process of filling out a full report to send to the AIA.
“San Luis was the one who brought it to our attention,” Hines said. “They are doing a great job of investigating. They’ve involved their coaches. They’re doing exactly what you hope coaches and schools would do.”
Whelchel said he didn’t want to comment on the number of ejections without seeing the officials’ ejection report first.
“There are two misconducts that will result in ejections, and then the officials will determine those involved in fighting as per the video,” Whelchel said. “Also, any player or coach that left the bench area is also ejected, as per our bylaw.”
They will have to serve next-game suspensions, according to the AIA bylaws.
San Luis Principal Tamara Ray did not comment but emailed a statement made by the Yuma Union High School District.
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The district’s statement
“There was an incident during the soccer game between San Luis and Gila Ridge last night at San Luis. No students were taken to the hospital. Both schools will be conducting investigations in coordination with the San Luis Police Department and the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The investigations will focus on any fighting that involved fans, and to determine the outcome of the game and potential school or program sanctions.
“All YUHSD schools aspire to the AIA’s mission to create and sustain an ethical culture through activities that encourages maximum student participation and an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition in interscholastic activities.
“Any student discipline that results from the investigation will remain confidential. Student safety is the number one priority of all of our schools and programs. YUHSD continues to promote and encourage the safety of all students and staff members.”
Contributing: USA TODAY High School Sports