Growing up in Pleasanton, one of the things I will always remember with fondness is the sense of community the city always exhibited.
Of course, as any city grows, it's destined to lose some of that feeling -- as the bigger it gets, it's tough to keep that small-town feeling. But what's gone on with the Foothill football program over the last month has given me reason to smile.
For those that don't recall, the Foothill football field is being replaced, and with the project starting over six weeks late, it created a mess starting with practice location and ending with the possibility of losing home games.
First, as chronicled here last month, the city of Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Unified School District reached an agreement to allow the Falcons to use the Patelco Sports Complex off Bernal Avenue for practices until their field is ready.
The move was huge for Foothill's program, as there is a serious lack of field space in Pleasanton outside of their own fields. The youth soccer clubs in Pleasanton are somewhat impacted by sharing this specific time of year for the field space, but it was something easily worked out.
"It's the right thing to do," said Kevin Crow, executive director for Ballistic United Soccer Club, as well as a former football and soccer player at Amador Valley. "It's all about working together for the kids in town."
Foothill coach Greg Haubner is thankful for the practice arrangement.
"It's a blessing to be at Patelco," he said.
Haubner also said the Foothill field has been guaranteed to be finished by Aug. 29, which would allow the Falcons to play their second game of the season against Heritage at Foothill as originally scheduled on Aug. 30.
There was still the problem with the season opener set for next Friday (Aug. 23) when Foothill is scheduled to host San Leandro. Haubner had contacted San Leandro about switching the game to San Leandro but a workable solution came in Pleasanton, from crosstown rival Amador Valley.
With the Dons' opener on Aug. 23 scheduled at Antioch, it meant the Amador field was open. Working together, the arrangements have been made to have Foothill host San Leandro in the opener at Amador.
"It really came down to being all about the kids," Amador coach Danny Jones said about Foothill playing at Amador. "We are just happy we were able to help."
There is a long way to go to make everything work for the Foothill football season, but at this point, it certainly is refreshing to see everyone working together for the general good of the student-athletes.
Martinez works last tournament
The weekend of Aug. 10-11 saw Ballistic United host its annual Summer Classic. The event is always one of the best-run youth soccer tournaments in the state, drawing high class teams as well as some of the best referees.
Credit for the success of the tournament falls on BUSC, with the credit for the referees largely due to the efforts of referee Bob Martinez.
Martinez coordinated the refs for the event, getting them to come to Pleasanton, in addition to the game-scheduling. He's been doing it for at least 40 years, with the recently concluded event being his last.
Martinez was a world-class ref back in the day, but according to Crow, now that he's retired, he wants more recreational time. If anyone has earned it, it's Martinez.
He has been instrumental in refereeing games in Pleasanton for so long that he called games I played in growing up in this town. What I admired the most about Martinez as a referee was his ability to communicate with the players during the game.
I mean, let's be serious, the refs in a soccer game never got a call right when it was against our team, but Bobby was always right there to calmly explain why the call was made.
Well done Bobby, and thanks for all the time and effort you have put into youth soccer in Pleasanton.