Colorado Conference Chaos
This story first came across my feed when I saw Logroñes Denver SC post a statement about an incident with a goalkeeper. Obviously, some of the things they said are very troubling. After a little bit of time, GAM United FC responded with their own allegations towards Logroñes. So, let’s look at everything that has happened.
I had an interest in the outcome of this match. It decided who would be facing the Mountain Conference Champion for a spot in the UPSL Semifinals. I currently cover the Mountain Conference heavily and thus would be covering who they would play. Unfortunately, there was no stream for the match. I refreshed my social media feeds every twenty to thirty minutes looking for an update. Finally, at 6:53 PM ET Logroñes posted an update on their Facebook announcing they had won the Colorado Conference Championship with a picture of the trophy. I tweeted about this and went on my way. Less than an hour latter, Logroñes posted a second update about the incident in question, which stated the following:
“As a club who has a history of being against violence, we hope that the UPSL and any other leagues in this sport that we all love stand up and do the right thing which is to go against any violence specially against the officials. Unfortunately, in our Final Match today the Goalkeeper from GAM United displayed very unsportsmanlike behavior which started off by aggravating one of the ball boys which he received a Yellow Card for, he would then proceed to disrespect the spectators and the facility. Towards the end of the match a penalty was called in our favor the goalkeeper got a foul called against him by the linesman for stepping away from the line before the penalty was taken which calls for a do-over, but the goalkeeper came running towards the center referee and proceeded to assault her. He shoved her on the ground and when players stepped up to push him away he started to throw punches left and right, one of which landed on one of our players. This type of behavior should not be tolerated at any level and we as a club wish to have the league do something about this. To the referees that were sent to our match today we would like to congratulate you on a job very well done! We hope the center referee from today is doing well!”
These were all shocking allegations, but none of us had any video to see what had happened. I reached out to Logroñes to see if they had game tape and I was told they would receive the tape on Tuesday and I might be able to see it then. I wasn’t able to, however, as local authorities are still investigating what happened. I was disheartened and thought I would tell the story without being able to show what happened, until I received a message on Tuesday with a video. The clip was recorded from a spectator’s cell phone and can be seen here:
In the video, you can clearly see the penalty kick get saved, the goalkeeper be called off of the line, the goalkeeper charge the official, and then the official end up on the ground. All of this lines up with the story told by Logroñes. They also stated that the goalkeeper began swinging. While you can not clearly see him throw the first punch, you do get to see both sides clear their benches and a large altercation happen between both teams. This was not mentioned in the original statement and may be something that causes both teams to face discipline from the UPSL for coming on to the field for an altercation. This is obviously speculation as of right now, as the league has not made a statement about repercussions yet.
GAM United’s Response
Later on that same evening, GAM United FC would respond on their Facebook page. Their statement began like this:
“We just read the statements written by Logrones Denver Soccer Club about the incidents that happened in todays Colorado conference final match and we are totally ashamed by the actions of our goalie in todays match. Gam United takes full responsibility for our goalie who acted very irresponsibly and unprofessional today with his actions and we APOLOGIZE for his actions today. He will be punished accordingly by all parties involved. He (Goalie) is a young 19 year old kid still trying to find his way in the world. He will be dealt with severely and we hope that this incident gets him on the right path of life. Gam United as a club are totally against violence on officials or other players for that matter and are very ashamed by the actions of our goalie this afternoon. He totally embarrassed himself and the club as a whole by his actions.”
This is a good response. Very professional and they accepted responsibility. It’s good. Things get interesting after that. They go on to say:
“However, the statement made by Logroñes Denver Soccer Club is very interesting coming from a club that has verbally assaulted and intimidated referees through out their history of the UPSL (Including threatening the 4th official on tonights game last season where he had to be escorted out of the facility to his car- See attached text message from David the owner and manager from Logroñes)... Now these referees are your best friend because you won.
Please take your victory in peace and lets all find a solutions to improving all these young kids life by teaching them to be better people/citizens in our societies... Not throw fuel on an already burning fire.”
They also included this image of a text message from the owner of Logroñes.
This is interesting to say the least. They decided to bring in new allegations of referee assault to after an incident when one of their players boiled over and attacked a referee. It’s an intriguing strategy.
The UPSL’s Response
On Monday, the league released their response. In it, they stated that the incident is under investigation by local authorities and that the UPSL is cooperating in those efforts. They also said they are currently investigating the issue themselves to determine what kind of disciplinary action will be taken. They closed their statement by saying “Let it be known that the UPSL does not tolerate violent conduct and the person(s) involved will be held accountable. The UPSL stands with its referees and will not tolerate referee abuse and will work diligently until this issue is rectified.”
As of the time of writing this, the UPSL has not taken any disciplinary action towards any club or player for the actions that took place that evening.
- Aarik Long