Brek Shea's loan from Stoke to Barnsley has ended early following an incident between the American midfielder and a fan.
Shea made a gesture with a hand after a 5-0 loss at Huddersfield on March 1, according to The Sentinel newspaper in Stoke. The incident occurred while the 24-year-old Texan was restraining teammate Stephen Dawson as Dawson tried to reach a Stoke supporter.
Barnsley said in a statement on its website Monday that Shea had been returned to Stoke, his Premier League parent club. Hoping to see playing time and earn a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster, Shea made eight appearances for Barnsley of the second-tier League Championship since the loan began Jan. 1.
He had been due to remain with the club until April 3. Shea did not dress for Saturday's game against Nottingham Forest.
''I would like to unreservedly apologize for what happened at the end of the Huddersfield match last week,'' Shea said Friday during several postings on his Twitter account. ''Although my actions were aimed at one person who was abusing a teammate I realize I should not have reacted in that way in the heat of the moment. I regret those actions and the offense it has caused. I did not intend to offend the Barnsley fans who have shown tremendous support for the team. The best way I can show this and repay you, the fans, is with my performances on the pitch.''