A youth game in Germany's fourth division nearly spiraled out of control after a number of incidents. Hannover say their U23 American defender, Christopher Gloster, was labeled a "monkey" during the match.
American teenager Christopher Gloster suffered racial abuse throughout Hannover U23's game against VfB Lübeck, according to the team's academy director.
Hannover reported on their website that the 19-year-old Gloster was targeted by away fans, with 200 having made the trip, and was labeled a "monkey," among other things.
"Chris was in tears in the changing room after the game. He was finished. He was continually and severely insulted during the game. Of course a young man can't just deal with that," explained Michael Tarnat, head of Hannover's academy. "Lines have been crossed, and how," added Tarnat.
Hannover have informed the north Germany football association of the incident.
"It was a free kick so I was walking away from the ball and then I heard the fans on the opposing team making monkey noises and calling me the n word," Gloster told The Scuffed Podcast. "At first I didn't really know what to think... I was really shocked. I didn't know how to react, because it was my first experience... My teammates really helped me through it. The team we were playing against, even their players were comforting me, helping me through it as well."
When asked whether it was an isolated incident or whether it continued, Gloster said on the podcast: "It continued, but I had to block it out."
Gloster received plenty of support in the changing room from his academy teammates, but also on social media. The club posted the news on Twitter with the hashtag: #SayNoToRacism.
"It was a really shocking experience for me," Gloster continued to The Scuffed Podcast. "It's just something I'm going to learn from because that's everywhere in soccer... It's a sad reality to know that it's going to be around for a while. There are a lot of ignorant people out there, people who don't think about what they're saying or how it affects other people."
The news comes just a month after German police investigated reports of racist comments at a Germany game, and at a time when racism has returned to the headlines in European football in recent weeks after incidents in Italy and England.
Lübeck said they were stunned at the accusations. "Unbelievable. Hannover did not inform us, and there was nothing of the like in the referee's report - we collected a great deal of information and cannot understand the comments made by Hannover," VfB Lübeck's spokesman Thomas Schikorra told Sportbuzzer.
The game, which ended in a 1-1 draw after a late Lübeck equalizer, itself was also charged, with three members of both teams sent to the stands by referee Murat Yilmaz after a mass confrontation.
Lübeck striker Patrick Hobsch was also sent off late on in a game that was full of tension.
The moment the Lübeck players took to the field 90 minutes before kick off, the sprinklers were set off.
After Hannover's goal, the ball boys were reportedly removed and extra balls were put away in an attempt to waste time. The officials also reported beer cups and lighters being thrown onto the field. The fixture has history, as a video, which has been posted on YouTube, from five years ago shows.
Schikorra is quoted by Sportbuzzer as saying that more conversations will be had and then the club will react accordingly.
Gloster joined Hannover's second team in July 2018 from the New York Red Bulls U18s.