The father of a Virginia sand soccer player is facing misdemeanor assault charges after police say he punched a 14-year-old player on the opposing team.
What was supposed to be a day of family-friendly competition between teams at the annual North American Sand Soccer Championship turned violent after parent Jordan Lee Grinnell, 38, stormed the field in a rage. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the game was nearing the end of its final period when a tiff broke out between Grinnell’s son and rival player Timothy Vickerie as they both went for the ball.
That’s when witnesses said they saw Grinnell knock Vickerie to the ground and punch him in the face multiple times. The attack left the eighth grader with a concussion, a busted lip and a gash so deep he required four stitches above his right eye, the boy’s mother, Nicole Vickerie told the newspaper.
“It was breathtaking to see that, and surreal. It still is,” she said of the incident. “By the time we got there, people had pulled him (Grinnell) off and took him away.”
The teen returned to the tournament the next day to cheer on his teammates, despite his eye being swollen shut and still badly bruised.
Jennifer Moss, whose son plays alongside Vickerie, said she’s struggled to get the incident out of her mind. She was standing just feet away when the attack unfolded.
“I didn’t sleep for two days and I’m still having trouble sleeping,” Moss said. “The kids who witnessed it are all shaken.”
Recalling the incident, Moss said Vickerie’s team was leading 5-4 when the boys started pushing each other as they chased the ball down the field. She said the boys appeared to “take it to the next level” — shoving, elbowing and grabbing at each other’s jerseys before Grinnell ran out onto the field.
“I’m thinking he’s coming over to break the boys up,” Moss told local station WTVR. “He ran past me, grabbed the victim, and threw him on the ground face-up. Then, he punched him at least two to four times that I saw.”
Vickerie’s coach, who asked to remain unnamed, ran over and tackled the man and pulled him away with the help of several other men. Police arrived minutes after Moss called 911, the cops ultimately placed him in handcuffs.
Nicole Vickerie said she confronted her child’s attacker following the incident.
“I asked him did he feel better now. ‘Does that make you feel like a big man?’ ” she recalled. “He said, ‘No, it doesn’t. I’m sorry.’”
Grinnell has since been released on bond and is scheduled to be arraigned June 20, according to WTVR.
The Hampton Roads Soccer Council said its been made aware of the situation and plans to cooperate with authorities as they investigate the matter.
“We take very seriously any acts of violence and condemn any bystander from entering the field of play,” executive director Lauren Bland said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the victim in this unfortunate incident, and we want to assure everyone that we will redouble our efforts to make the 2019 tournament and all future ones even more safe and secure.”