Jul 2, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Just one day after The Guardian ran a comprehensive piece on the vibrant adult soccer scene in Detroit, there’s a tragic story coming out of the Michigan city’s suburbs.
Veteran referee John Bieniewicz has died as a result of injuries suffered from a punch to the head from a player during an over-30 men’s game on Sunday.
The 20-year referee was in the process of ejecting player Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad from a game when the player struck him in the head. Saad was “arraigned Monday on a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm.”
And so a men’s league game has led to the death of a father, husband and respected official.
Bieniewicz, 44, was a dialysis technician at Mott Children’s Hospital who lived in the Detroit suburb of Westland with his wife and two sons, said Acho, who was a classmate of Bieniewicz’s at Catholic Central High School.
“I speak for all his friends when I say we are devastated. Crushed. Just a senseless way for a great guy to go out,” Acho said. “He deserved better.”
The incident, along with a similar death in Utah last year when a referee was killed by a teenage player, is raising concern about the safety of amateur sports.
“Never in my life did I think it would happen here,” Joseph Cosenza, a player in the game Sunday, told Fox 2 News in Detroit.
“All of that over a meaningless, know-nothing, over-30 men’s soccer league that, honestly, it’s not worth it,” Cosenza said.
“You know, we all want to go and play, but the more I talk to friends, the more they say it’s not worth playing anymore, because this is starting to happen more and more often.”
These brutal stories are necessary to publicize, as the photo of the man and his family, if only to remind players, coaches and parents time and time again that real people are officiating and playing alongside you. It’s not a video game.
Our condolences to Bieniewicz’s family, friends and the entire Detroit soccer community.
Aug 2, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT
David Accam helped lead Chicago Fire over FC Dallas to end the visitors five-game winning streak.
Aug 2, 2015, 8:06 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 6:36 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Take a bow, Benteke. Take a bow.
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Aug 2, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT
Chelsea boss hits out at Gunners as he loses to Wenger for first time in 14 attempts.
Aug 2, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Catch up on all the latest transfer rumors and gossip, right here.
Aug 2, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT
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Aug 2, 2015, 11:55 AM EDT
Arsenal takes claim to the Community Shield as Arsene Wenger has finally defeated Jose Mourinho.
Aug 2, 2015, 10:49 AM EDT
The Gunners took a 1-0 first half lead over Chelsea in the FA Community Shield thanks to a classy finish from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Aug 2, 2015, 10:04 AM EDT
In the City of Brotherly Love, it was only fitting that the Wright-Phillips boys led New York to a victory.
Aug 2, 2015, 9:07 AM EDT
There’s a legitimate chance that Roy Keane has never taken a picture with his cell phone.
Aug 2, 2015, 8:12 AM EDT
Manchester United’s Di Maria experiment is all but over, and it’s going to cost them $20 million.
Aug 2, 2015, 12:02 AM EDT
That’s 7 losses in 8 games for the Sounders. Meanwhile, the ‘Caps go top of the West.
Aug 1, 2015, 10:47 PM EDT
Another Royal Rumble between old rivals. While the rest of MLS went goal-crazy, these two did what they always do.
Aug 1, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT
The goals floweth over in MLS tonight. Cyle Larin scored his second straight brace for Orlando City.
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