Criminal charges filed against a Harvard-Westlake High soccer player for an on-field incident probably will not affect his enrollment into Yale University, according to its soccer coach.
Dwight Angelini, who plans to attend Yale and play soccer for the Ivy League school, was charged with assault and battery for kicking an opponent in the head--apparently the first time in state history that criminal charges were filed against an athlete for violence on the field.
Angelini was arrested after kicking Notre Dame's Ryan Herrera on the head during a match Feb. 3 that was captured on videotape.
"I stand by him," Yale Coach Steve Griggs said of Angelini on Monday. "The school and Yale Admissions have stood by him because he has accepted responsibility and no doubt has learned an immense amount from this thing, though in a painful way.
"He definitely blew up, from what I understand. But there's nothing to indicate that this kid is a bad person or that he's unredeemable and wouldn't be able to learn from the experience."
Angelini, 17, was "upset, sad and concerned," according to Harvard-Westlake Coach Barclay Mackinnon, about being charged with one count of felony assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and one count of felony battery with serious bodily injury.
Prosecutors will not ask that Angelini be jailed. He will probably be placed on probation if convicted, said Dan Murphy, director of special operations for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
An arraignment is scheduled for June 7 at the Sylmar Juvenile Court.
Angelini was not available for comment on the advice of his attorney, Roger Rosen.
"We are really, really disappointed that they decided to file this thing," Rosen said. "There's absolutely no case authority for this in California."
Experts are unaware of another case in the state in which criminal charges were filed against an athlete for an on-field incident.
"The mere fact that violence occurs on a field will not stop us from filing a case," Murphy said Friday. "Which is not to say that we plan on filing cases every time two kids knock heads on a football field; we aren't looking to set a precedent. But a criminal assault is no less criminal because it occurs on an athletic field."
The Herrera family plans to file a civil suit against Harvard-Westlake for negligence.