Soccer father arrested
A soccer game between the Under-14-year-olds of the Downtown United Soccer Club and the Brooklyn Italians on a rainy Wednesday night Nov. 16 at Pier 40 ended in a fight between the two teams and the father of a DUSC player charged with misdemeanor assault.
The parent, Vasill Raftu, known as Bill Raftu, was identified to police by two Brooklyn Italian players as the man in the green jacket who they said punched one of them and threw the other to the ground during the melee that began with a shoving match among the teen players in a make-up game that was played without a licensed referee.
Police at the 6th Precinct confirmed the arrest and the desk appearance ticket issued to Raftu, but Bruce Cook, a DUSC parent who was among several parents at the game, said later, He [Raftu] didnt punch anyone. His kid was at the bottom of a pile of kids and he went onto the field to pull him out of harms way.
The trouble began at the Houston St. pier 45 minutes into the game with a 1-1 score when Michael Raftu, a DUSC forward, who said a Brooklyn Italian player had been pulling his shirt, gave his opponent a shove and the melee ensued.
Angel Cordero, a Brooklyn Italian defenseman, ended up with a bloody nose and Joey Caruana, was flung to the ground. Caruanas father, Joe, came onto the field and took his son, who was in tears by that time, and Cordero to the Pier 40 office to call 911. After listening to different versions of the event from more than 20 players and parents, police took Raftu to the Sixth Precinct for booking.
The game, a make-up, was not finished and many parents blamed the Cosmopolitan League for failing to make sure that a certified referee was on hand to officiate at the game.
Two weeks ago, a Downtown Soccer League player punched an opponent in the nose after a Battery Park City game in which parents quarreled on the sidelines. Police were not called in that altercation.
Judith Stiles and Albert Amateau