A youth soccer referee may be a thankless job, but Sunday it turned into a literal slap in the face for a man.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no charges had been filed against a 39-year-old Gainesville woman who reportedly slapped James Hayes, 30, after her daughter fell during a game in Forsyth County.
According to a Forsyth County Sheriff's reports, Hayes was working as a referee during the United Futbol Academy’s Fall Classic Tournament this weekend at Central Park.
During a game Sunday, the Gainesville woman’s reportedly daughter fell.
“[Hayes] stated the injury did not meet immediate care, so by the rules of the soccer tournament, he allowed play to continue until a timed stop,” said Forsyth Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins.
When the game did finally stop, Hayes said he motioned the coach to the downed player to check her injuries.
Hayes then “turned around to find a parent from the sidelines standing in front of him in the field, yelling at him for not stopping the game earlier,” Huggins said.
“He blew his whistle at her and told her she needed to leave the park,” he said. “That’s when she slapped him at the right side of the face.”
The woman left before sheriff's deputies arrived.
The deputies said Hayes’ face was red and the right side of his lower lip was cut.
Don Schultz, tournament director, said a parent being ejected from a game is rare.
“It’s no different than any other youth sport, lot of cheering and everybody wants to see their child do well,” Schultz said. “We hate to have any kind of incidents occur, but unfortunately it can. So we do everything we can, but a lot of it’s out of our control.”
According to Huggins, the woman was not the only parent who had a run-in with Hayes during the tournament.
“He had already had trouble with some other parents earlier and had already ejected one parent from the park, but not related to this one lady,” he said. “It’s misbehavior on the part of the parents ... it’s rare.”
No charges will be pressed unless Hayes files a complaint, which could result in a misdemeanor battery charge.
“Hopefully, it will not be pursued,” Schultz said. “We would hope that it’s not going to become any bigger than it currently is in terms of publicity and a negative surrounding for youth soccer."