American Exports: Brek Shea returns to Stoke City after Barnsley loan cut short following fan incident

Brek Shea, Barnsley FC

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Barnsley FC

AMSTERDAM – Stoke City winger Brek Shea has seen his Barnsley loan spell cut short as a direct result of a March 1 fan incident.

Late in a 5-0 loss at Huddersfield Town, the US international made an offensive gesture to a Tykes supporter when rushing to the defense of teammate Steven Dawson. The defender had to be restrained after a heated confrontation with the team's traveling fans. On Monday, Barnsley boss Danny Wilson opted to send Shea back to Stoke a few weeks before the stint was set to end on April 3.

"In his comments to the press today, the manager said he didn't want to have any issues with the club," press officer Mark Stokes told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. "He felt it was the best thing to do."

The move comes despite a public apology from Shea over the weekend.

"I would like to unreservedly apologize for what happened at the end of the match," said the 24-year-old winger via Twitter. "Although my actions were aimed at one person who was abusing a teammate, I realize I should not have reacted in that way in the heat of the moment.

"I regret those actions and the offense it has caused. I did not intend to offend the Barnsley fans, who have shown tremendous support for the team."

Shea started five of eight Championship appearances for Barnsley. Though the Texas native did not score or notch an assist, the relegation fighters did post a 2-3-3 record when he saw the field. He now returns to a Stoke side six points above the Premier League trap door with nine games remaining.