Portillo, 46, succumbed to injuries late Saturday that had put him in a coma for a week after police said a 17-year-old goalie punched him. Authorities say the teen struck Portillo after the youth was called for a foul and issued a yellow card. "The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call," police spokesman Justin Hoyal said in a statement.
The suspect had been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Hoyal said authorities would consider additional charges since Portillo's death. Hoyal said an autopsy was planned. No cause of death was released.
Daughter Johana Portillo, 26, said last week that she wasn't at the April 27 game in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, but she had been told by witnesses and detectives that the player hit her father in the side of the head. Portillo's family said he had been attacked before, and Johana Portillo said she and her sisters had pleaded with their father to stop refereeing because of the risk from angry players. But he continued because he loved soccer. "It was his passion," she said. "We could not tell him no."
Encouraging proper code of conduct through modeled behavior helps minimize violence in youth sports. In an effort to curb the violence on the fields and courts, The National Alliance for Youth Sports released a 30-page informational booklet titled "Recommendation for Communities." It outlines the importance and benefits of youth sports, in addition to the current problems and issues. In addition it presents new guidelines and philosophies for behavior, as well as suggestions for implanting these new policies.