Letter from Utah Youth Soccer Association regarding sportsmanship


Utah Youth Soccer Association
9256 South State Street Ste. 100 
Sandy, Utah 84070 
Phone: 801-268-3365
Fax: 801-268-3415 

To Coaches, Players, Parents, and Administrators 

Earlier this week UYSA was informed of the tragic event involving a seventeen year old soccer player and an adult referee named Ricardo Portillo. After a long week of hope and support, it was reported yesterday that the Mr. Portillo had passed away. UYSA sends our heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Portillo and all others touched by this tragic loss. 

UYSA is the administrative body within the State of Utah determined by the National Council to carry out the United States Soccer Federation’s programs for amateur youth players. There are also unaffiliated leagues that operate in Utah and across the country that are not governed, officiated, or affiliated in anyway by UYSA or US Soccer. The game in which this terrible tragedy occurred was one of the latter. UYSA did not sanction the league and the referee was not registered with US Soccer Federation. Nevertheless, the overriding principles in any sport, in particular recreation or competitive amateur sports are the same. 

Since 1978, UYSA has offered programs for hundreds of thousands of children and currently has over 47,000 players and 46 Member Organizations. While quality programming is a big priority of our organization, Risk Management and the safety of players, coaches, and referees is our greatest priority. Violence in the game is unacceptable at any level and UYSA has a No Tolerance policy for belligerent behavior of any kind. We understand that during competition sports emotions run high, but ones behavior should never cross this line at any level, whether it’s on the field between players, involving officials, or on the sidelines with coaches and spectators / parents. Everyone shares responsibility for the tone of the game and it must start well before any act of violence or overly aggressive behavior, with strong campaigns to promote sportsmanship among teams and coaches, and respect for officials. Although no one is able to control the actions of any one individual as in last weekend’s tragic incident, one element is constant; the ongoing example that everyone involved sets, whether it be one of good sportsmanship and respect, or lack of it, directly affects the overall tone of the games on the field. The way to have a safe, fun and successful outcome is to create and reinforce an environment in which all involved are reminded of the reason we’re all out there. 

As an educational based organization devoted to the sport of soccer, we recognize the value of recreation and competition and the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship. We continuously strive to stage an enjoyable and safe playing environment for our members, coaches, parents and officials. We appreciate your continued support of these ideals and for being members of UYSA. 


Cindy Baron 
Utah Youth Soccer Association
Andrew R. Hiatt 
Utah Youth Soccer Association 

Utah Youth Soccer is the governing body of youth soccer in Utah. As the Utah affiliate of US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation,
Utah Youth Soccer strives to provide a fun, safe, and challenging learning environment for every child who wants to play soccer in Utah.