Local soccer player accused of punching referee arrested

SAN DIEGO - A local soccer player has been arrested on assault and battery charges after a referee says he was punched in the face for giving a red card.

Adan Lopez was working an adult recreational league game at Morse High School in San Diego in late May when the incident occurred.

Lopez says near the beginning of an adult game in the Papaquiy Recreational League, he issued a red card to a player for repeatedly and loudly cursing him out.

That prompted a teammate of the player to curse him out, leading to another red card.

Lopez said as he was watching the first player walk off the field, the other one was getting ready to attack.

"When I turn around, the guy … he hit me in the eyes, nose and lip," said Lopez.

Lopez suffered a broken nose, swollen eye, cut lip and a concussion.        

He said the player who attacked him had to be held back and so did the other player who had charged Lopez.

"He looked at me and the blood and said, 'Oh, I kill this guy!" said Lopez.

Police told 10News on Tuesday the man who punched Lopez was arrested on assault charges.

Lopez said the man's name is Manuel Garcia and he is believed to be in his 30s.

"One part of me is happy because it sends the message," said Lopez.

That message that comes two months after a referee was killed in Utah after a teenage player punched him.

In Brazil in late June, an in-game penalty led to a player being stabbed and the referee decapitated.

"Soccer is family sport," said Lopez. "There is not a place for violence."

Lopez has hired attorney Dan Petrov and will likely file a civil suit.

"There has to be a line, and that line was crossed," said Petrov, who is with the Crouse Petrov Law Firm. "We have to take a stand, because otherwise we don't know where it's going to lead. There will be more violence in sports."

Lopez said he still suffers from pain and breathing issues. He told 10News the two players involved were brothers.


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