Soccer dad jailed after assaulting referee

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Michael William Goodwin, 47, of Safford, was booked into jail on charges of assault and disorderly conduct after allegedly attacking a soccer referee after he called his son for a foul.

AYSO opening day marred by incident

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – Opening day for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) was marred by ugliness Saturday, Aug. 20, when a parent reportedly ran onto the field and assaulted a referee. 

Michael William Goodwin, 47, of Safford, was arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of assault and disorderly conduct/fighting. Charges were officially filed Aug. 23, and Goodwin had notice of appearance filed Aug. 25, according to online court records. 

Authorities were dispatched at about 10:08 a.m. to 527 E. Armory Rd. to the soccer fields at the Graham County Fairgrounds regarding two males fighting. 

According to the victim and multiple witnesses, the incident occurred while the referee was performing his duties. The report states player A fouled player B and the referee gave player A a yellow card. However, player A then attacked player B and the referee separated the boys and was going to red card player A. At that time, player A’s father, Michael Goodwin, yelled at the referee “don’t touch my (expletive deleted) son” and Goodwin ran onto the field and took a swing at the referee. Goodwin then pushed the referee to the ground and got on top of him. Others then went to break up the assault. 

While that was happening, player A reportedly attempted to retrieve a firearm from his father’s vehicle, but when unable to do so told those involved that they were lucky he didn’t have the gun because he would have killed them if he did. 

The youth later allegedly told a deputy that he was going to get the gun to protect his dad. He was referred to Juvenile Probation regarding a charge of threatening and was then released to his mother at the scene.

Goodwin allegedly told a deputy that he was just protecting his son from the referee. He was then taken to jail and booked for assault and disorderly conduct. 

A couple of AYSO board members were on hand to witness the event, and one had a video of the game that was given to authorities. An employee of the AYSO board was also there and inquired about having both Goodwin and his son trespassed from the soccer fields.