Postgame soccer brawl after handshake line leads to official investigation

Cameron Smith

Another day, another nasty girls soccer fight. No, really.

In this case, the fight in question occurred in Texas, where the Beaumont (Texas) Ozen High and Bridge City (Texas) High girls teams were engaged in a nasty spat that began in the postgame handshake line. According to Beaumont-based station KIII TV, the fight allegedly began when an Ozen player was walking through the handshake line and shoulder-checked a Bridge City player. When the Bridge City player then protested about the contact, the Ozen player threw a punch.

According to a number of parents who have stepped forward as witnesses, what happened next was a minor brawl involving the entirety of both teams. While no video exists of the brawl, witnesses contend that the Ozen player who landed the first punch later ran across the field to punch another Bridge City player after the two teams had been separated.

Texas' University Interscholastic League has reportedly launched an investigation into the fight, with suspensions or full team penalties possible.

"After UIL officials received a call from a Beaumont media outlet, BISD was contacted by the UIL," a Beaumont school district statement released to the media read. "BISD's Athletic Director and police department are conducting an investigation and awaiting the officials' report of the incident."

While the incident is a troubling development, it isn't the first time an Ozen team has found itself in serious trouble with UIL authorities in recent months. Ozen's football program and coach are currently on probation after a mid-game brawl marred a November playoff game between Ozen and LaMarque (Texas) High.

One of the questions now being raised is whether Ozen officials might have to go before UIL's executive committee for the second time in four months, a possibility that UIL deputy director Jamey Harrison refused to rule out to the Beaumont Enterprise.

"This is a district ball game so this may well go to the district executive committee and might not have anything to do with the state executive committee," Harrison told the Enterprise. "However, Ozen had a recent incident in football and had to come before the state executive committee for that incident. There's some chance they could be asked to come again. We'll have to see what's in the reports before making that determination."

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