Santa Ana soccer game turns violent as fans rush field, get into brawl – OCRegister
SANTA ANA – A friendly game between former players of two professional Mexican soccer clubs on Sunday afternoon, June 25, turned violent when dozens of fans rushed the field and began beating each other, forcing authorities to suspend the match.
The “game of legends” between former Club America and Pumas players at Eddie West Field at 602 N. Flower St. was intended to benefit Santa Ana-based United Soccer Talents Foundation, which supports soccer players.
But shortly after 2:15 p.m., during halftime, about 50 fans began fighting, Santa Ana police Cmdr. Jeffrey Smith said. Officers working the event were supported by patrol staff to shut down the event and clear the field and stands.
A contingent of Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies were called for crowd control, and the Huntington Beach Police Department airship “Angel” assisted, Smith said.
Five suspects were detained, he said. No officers were injured and no property was damaged.
“The game did not continue after that,” Santa Ana police Sgt. Rosa Ponce de Leon said.
According to Enrique Gutierrez, a reporter and producer for Contragolpe.net who witnessed the match and brawl, some fans realized there was not enough security and a handful of them from Club America’s side got on the field and challenged Puma fans. Seconds later, a few Pumas fans accepted the challenge and got down on the field as well.
A video on Contragolpe.net shows fans fist-fighting and several men knocked down on the ground, one appearing to be unconscious. A police officer is shown beating another man with a baton.
Support groups for both teams, known as “barras,” are among the toughest and most violent in all of Mexican soccer, Gutierrez said.
“It is too bad that reputation has crossed over here too,” he said.
At the half, the former Club America’s players led 2-1.
Some of the better known players included former Mexican national team members Luis Roberto Alves “Zague” and Alberto Garcia Aspe, Paraguay’s Salvador Cabañas, Chile’s Fabian Estay and Colombia’s Andres Chitiva.