The Michigan soccer player accused of assaulting a soccer referee as he was being ejected from a game late last month has been charged with the referee's death, prosecutors said.
"The entire soccer world mourns with the family upon the death of John Bieniewicz. This is especially tragic because it happened as the World Cup dominates our television screens," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said in a statement. "The alleged actions of this defendant cannot be tolerated and there must be action taken in our legislature to make sure that there are stronger penalties when a referee is the victim during organized sport."
Bieniewicz grew up in suburban Detroit and was part of a close-knit group of friends who graduated from Detroit Central Catholic High School in 1988.
In two decades, Bieniewicz had never had a physical altercation with a player on the pitch, his friend James Acho told The Times.
"He was a very mild-mannered guy, very non-confrontational and very professional," Acho said.