SALT LAKE CITY – Soccer referee Ricardo Portillo died after a 17-year-old player allegedly assaulted him at a match, and now the league he refereed in is hosting a tournament to raise funds for his family.
Liga Continental De Futbol is hosting the tournament Saturday and Sunday, and 100 percent of the funds raised will go to Portillo’s family.
Jose Alcaraz is a friend of Portillo, and he said the tournament is a way for people to be there for the Portillo family in a difficult time.
"I know nothing we do is going to bring him back, but it’s something that will just show our support," he said. “We just wanted to help as much as we can, and help that cause, and support the family—show them that we are together in this with them."
Tournament organizers are asking people to donate water, Gatorade, meat, vegetables, candy or any items that can be sold at the tournament to raise funds for the family. Donations can be dropped off at 2480 S. 100 W. between 6 and 9 p.m.
Portillo was also honored at Saturday's Real Salt Lake match against the Chicago Fire. Lovetherefs.org joined with RSL and 1LAW to pay tribute to Portillo and raise money for his famly. Event organizers sold T-shirts and wristbands before and during the game to raise funds.
Jason Velez, 1LAW founder, said they hope the event can help raise funds as well as send a sobering message about violence on the field, according to a press release.
“We hope everyone will remember the passion of sports and separate that from violent aggression," he said. "The rules of the game and the officials who enforce them help everyone win. Without refs, we’d have no major leagues, no stadiums, no Friday nights under the lights or hot dogs and peanuts at the ballpark with the kids. In order to win, we must have enforceable rules. It’s really a lesson for life.”
Click here to learn more about lovetherefs.org or to make a donation--100 percent of donations go to the Portillo family.
Portillo was in a coma for about a week after the assault, and he was taken off of life support earlier this month. His alleged attacker was charged with homicide by assault, which is a third-degree felony. Prosecutors are working to determine whether he will be charged as an adult.