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NY Red Bulls coach murdered

New York Red Bulls youth coach Mike Jones was stabbed to death near Union Square in Manhattan early on Sunday morning.

Jones, 25, from Liverpool, was responsible for working with the Red Bulls' junior players before they entered the club's youth academy.

The club confirmed Jones' death and issued a statement saying he was a dedicated football fan and beloved friend.

"We are aware of this tragedy and on behalf of the entire organisation, want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Michael's family, friends and loved ones. He was a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved football and a terrific friend for many of us. This is truly a sad day for our football community and we will do our utmost to help authorities in their investigation of this case. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's family at this time."

A spokesperson from the New York Police Department said Jones was found with a severed ear and stab wounds to his head and neck.

Detectives stated that they had apprehended a 'person of interest' in relation to Jones' murder, and are said to be currently interviewing the man who they believe was found on security cameras walking away from the area where Jones' body was found.

The video reportedly shows Jones walking with his suspected killer, before an argument ensures before the attacker slashed Mr Jones' throat and stabbed him in the abdomen and chest.

Jones was so mutilated that one witness believed it was a Halloween prank.

"It was a frenzy. The guy was chopped multiple times. He cut the guy's ear off. It doesn't get any more personal than that."

"We thought it was a Halloween joke or something because his phone was there, so maybe if we tried to get his phone that he'll pop up or something."

Another disturbed witness said: "I never, ever, ever seen nothing like this. Ever."

Jones was also involved in the coaching of young players from the Armonk United youth league team in Westchester, New York, and local referrees coordinator, Mark Fischer praised Jones' influence on the young men he coached.

"He coached two of my three sons and was just a great guy. He cared about what he did, and was very dedicated.The kids loved him."

Red Bulls star, Tim Cahill lead the tributes and paid his own respects via his official Twitter account.

"So sad to hear the news about Mike Jones a coach @NewYorkRedBulls, my thoughts are with his family and friends," he wrote.

Jones is not to be confused with former Red Bulls defender Mike Jones, who now plays for FC Hjorring in Denmark.