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Utah soccer referee in critical condition after being punched by teenage player

SALT LAKE CITY - A referee for a recreational soccer league was in critical condition in a Salt Lake City hospital after being punched in the face by a teenage player who didn't like a call the man made in a weekend game.

The 17-year-old was booked into a juvenile detention center on suspicion of aggravated assault, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. Those charges could be amplified if the 46-year-old referee's condition worsens.

The incident happened in a flash during a soccer game Saturday at a field at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville, a Salt Lake City suburb.

The referee called a foul on the player and issued him a yellow card, triggering the player to turn and punch him, authorities said. At first, it appeared the referee just had minor injuries from the single blow.



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