Columbia County authorities arrested a Beech Island man for assaulting a soccer referee at Patriots Park on July 8.
Johnny Alberto Zuniga, 44, of Atomic Road, was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery against a sports official on July 20, according to his arrest report.
At an Augusta Amateur Soccer League match, a referee called a penalty on Zuniga, who responded by stepping on him and kicking his shins.
When the official tried twice to give him a red card, Zuniga grabbed the referee’s neck and began choking him, according to a Columbia County incident report.
The referee, who began coughing up blood, sought medical attention at an area hospital.
Zuniga, a citizen of Costa Rica, could face a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said in an e-mail.
He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on July 21 after posting a $1,100 bond, according to a jailer.
Morris said the sheriff’s office was required by law to notify the Consulate of Costa Rica, but Zuniga will likely not face deportation.
Zuniga has been banned from the Augusta Amateur Soccer League and from participating in any Columbia County leagues.