Matt Rambo, who had been indefinitely suspended for his role in an incident Oct. 22 in College Park, played in No. 10 Maryland’s season-opening 8-1 victory against Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Rambo, a sophomore attackman who returned as the team’s leading scorer with 36 points (30 goals, six assists), came off the bench to record two goals and one assist and tied junior midfielder Henry West with a game-high eight shots.
Rambo had been allowed to practice, but he was held out of scrimmages until he had completed some team-imposed obligations.
Terps coach John Tillman told The Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner that the decision to allow Rambo to play “came down to the wire.”
“I know we’re not going to be perfect,” Tillman said after the win. “We’ve all made mistakes. Candidly, we can’t quit on those guys. There have to be teachable moments. But there are consequences. Matt, behind the scenes, has suffered a lot. He’s had to pay a very heavy price, a price that typical students don’t have to pay.”
Rambo had been charged with first- and second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property. The incident also led to the dismissal of student assistant coach Brian Cooper.
The first-degree assault charges against Rambo and Cooper were dismissed in November. But the second-degree assault and destruction of property charges are still pending.
Tillman said he felt suspending Rambo and banishing him from scrimmages were appropriate forms of discpline.
“I’ve been doing this 20-some odd years and I think, outside not letting someone be on the team, it was the hardest punishment I’ve dealt out, for sure,” he said. “There were some times when he didn’t like me very much. I wasn’t concerned about that. I think he learned a lot of things. Sometimes when you’re a young person, you sometimes forget that you go from young man to man coming into these situations. …
"I think he’s going to think a little bit harder about what he does and be a little more careful with his choices. I also think he’s learned that he’s a guy that can positively impact other people with his selfless nature, community service, working with young people, that he can help make people’s lives better and give them the wisdom of what he just went through because I would not want to go through what Matt just went through.”