Coach, Player Suspended After Soccer Game Fight


Although Payson Police Department and the town parks and recreation department are continuing their investigations of a youth soccer league altercation, a team coach and a player have been suspended for their part in the incident.

Red Neck team coach Phil Hopkins and 18-year old player Aaron Loeffler will not be allowed to participate in town parks and recreation activities for a year, town parks and recreation director Rick Manchester said.

"We are in the middle of our fact-finding, but there will be probably be another (player) suspended when all the facts are in," added Manchester. "He will be the (player) who threw a punch.

"They all should be receiving their suspension letters soon."

The altercation occurred May 7 on the North Rumsey Park field in a makeup game between the Red Necks and Roadrunners of the 9th to 12th grade youth soccer league.

The majority of the players in the league also participate on the Payson High School junior varsity and varsity soccer teams.

Last season, Loeffler was a senior member of the Longhorn squad and an All-East region second team selection.

Following the season, head coach Chad Gower lauded him as a player who, "came to each game with an intensity few others could come close to."

Manchester said the Red Necks have a reputation for their "ambitions" style of play.

In the midst of the heated game, players on the two teams took affront to the actions of each other, words were exchanged, a least one blow thrown and a scrap broke out that involved both players the Red Necks coach.

Payson Police officers, including officer Steve D'Addabbo, were called to quell the dispute.

D'Addabbo is continuing to investigate the incident.

Payson Police Chief Don Engler said his department is considering filing a long form complaint against an 18-year-old male, but would not confirm it was Loeffler.

A long form complaint, Engler said, allows prosecutors to took at a set of facts and see if they warrant filing a criminal charge.

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