Brek Shea's Barnsley stint cut short after fan incident

The U.S. international has returned to Stoke City three weeks early after directing an inappropriate gesture toward a Barnsley supporter.
Brek Shea's loan stint at Barnsley has come to a premature end.

The 24-year-old U.S. national team midfielder has been sent back to Stoke City after he directed an inappropriate gesture toward a Barnsley supporter following a 5-0 loss at Huddersfield on March 1. His loan to the Championship side had been scheduled to end in early April.

"It's about the fans. What happened was unsavory and we have to make sure that the situation doesn't escalate or effect the team," Barnsley manager Danny Wilson told reporters Monday. "The fans were fantastic on Saturday and we don't want anything acrimonious."

Shea, who made eight appearances for Barnsley, referenced the incident in a series of tweets March 7: "I would like to unreservedly apologize for what happened at the end of the Huddersfield match last week. 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. The best way I can show this and repay you, the fans, is with my performances on the pitch."

Sources tell Goal USA that Shea could go out on loan again, with a handful of League Championship clubs interested in bringing him in for a loan until the end of the season.

Follow GOAL.COM on