MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — It was no surprise that Totino Grace and Prairie Seeds Academy ended up facing each other in the section final. The way the game ended, though, caught many by surprise.
The final moments of the game, which Prairie Seeds won 2-1, are now being reviewed by both schools, the Minnesota State High School League, and Maple Grove Police after several fights took place on the field and in the bench area. A lot of it was caught on camera by the crews of Channel 12 Sports; Northwest Community Television was televising this contest.
Totino Grace Athletic Director Mike Smith couldn't say much about the game because of the investigation, but he did talk briefly with KARE 11.
"I can tell you one thing, the game was a great soccer game. There were a lot of kids that worked really hard to get to that point. It's too bad the ending is what people want to talk about because the game was so good," he said.
Prairie Seeds Academy Coach Youssef Darbaki, who is well known in Minnesota's soccer community, agrees with Smith, calling the ending very unfortunate. Darbaki, who lost his voice during that game, couldn't grant an interview, but did say after talking to his players, he believes that some harsh and intensely personal words that were exchanged may have led up to the ugly ending.
One Seeds player involved in the altercation was playing in front of 2 college coaches; all told there were 7 college coaches in the stands to watch the game and potential recruits. Now, Maple Grove Police are also watching the end of that game on tape.
"We don't know what happened behind the video or away from the video. It's just a snapshot in time, but during that snapshot in time we can see what happened. But again, the whole story is the beginning to the end," Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden said. He said investigators will start contacting those involved on Monday.
The Minnesota State High School League is also conducting an investigation. Officials will gather with coaches and referees on Monday as well. Prairie Seeds goes on to the state tournament; at least one player will be suspended for the first game of state because he received a red card at the end of that Totino Grace game.