Local News

Soccer Dispute Goes to Court

Posted April 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It was 1994 when a soccer match between Duke and Clemson turned violent. A fight broke out resulting in one player injured and another ejected from the game.

That was on the field.

Wednesday, the dispute went to court where former Duke player J.J. Ossola, Jr. is suing former Clemson player Wolde Harris for breaking his jaw.

Harris' attorney says Harris was just defending himself after Ossola attacked him, but Ossola claims it was a cheap shot. He's asking for more than $10,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

The effects of this case are not only going to be felt in the courtroom, they'll also be felt on playing courts and fields nationwide. The verdict could have a profound effect on all college and high school athletics if other injured players decide lawsuits are called for. If any are successful, that could effect on the intensity of play, with players worried about hurting each other.

Of course, some say that would be a good thing, with participants being held accountable for their actions.

Harris now plays soccer for the Jamaican National team and the major league Colorado Rapids

A verdict in the trial is expected Friday.