Misael Sanchez, a 29-year-old Port Hueneme resident, was playing in a soccer game July 10 at 11 a.m. at Oxnard High School, located at 3400 W. Gonzalez Rd.
One of his teammates made a foul, leading to a massive fight between players from both teams and people from the stands. When the crowd cleared, Sanchez was lying on the ground, unresponsive.
He was hospitalized following the fight and died 15 days later, Oxnard police said.
The Sanchez family is left to grieve a young man. He was the first in his family to attend college and was working as a biomedical scientist while pursuing his doctorate when all of that ended on the soccer field.
“This whole family grew up playing soccer as little kids and through adults,” Eric Ambriz, Sanchez’ cousin, said outside a law office in Ventura Thursday. “It’s heartbreaking to hear that Misael’s life was ended with something that he truly loved and cherished.”
Attorneys are working to find who is at fault for Sanchez’ death. They are searching for answers from the league office.
La Nueva Liga Oxnard, the adult soccer league that leased the field at the high school where Sanchez was attacked, was registered as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, but the registration was suspended two and a half years ago, according to Sanchez’ family attorney Danielle De Smeth.
The family attorney said they have since learned of other fights on the field that went unchecked over the last couple of years.
NBC4 reached out to the league’s office, but the main number appeared to be disconnected. No email was returned.
“What rules were the league following? Were aggressive players properly sanctioned and removed from play as other leagues commonly do?” De Smeth asked.
The Oxnard Police Department has created an anonymous way for witnesses to send in notes, photos and videos related to the case, the attorney said.
“My son didn’t deserve this,” his father, Guadalupe Sanchez, said at a news conference Thursday. “He had many dreams to accomplish in his whole life ahead of him. Misael’s death was not an accident. We don’t wish this pain on any family. We want justice for our son and ask for your help. Right now is a very difficult time and we don’t have any words.”