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Super Bowl Lawsuit by Santa Clara Youth Soccer

Original post made by Youth Soccer Fan, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Dec 30, 2015

The City of Santa Clara pulled several fast ones when it came to building Levi's Stadium and selling it to the public. We all know that there's no parking nor reasonable public transportation to the facility, but it was built anyway.

One of the less-publicized injustices has been to the youth soccer kids and teams that use the soccer fields by the stadium. Jed York, the owner of the 49ers, originally committed to building new soccer fields for the ones that would be lost to the new stadium. Then, after stadium construction started, he changed his mind, saying that the offer would good only if the existing soccer fields would be made available for parking on weekends. In the end he did nothing - and neither the Santa Clara City Council nor Mayor Jamie Matthews did anything, since they were so happy to get their stadium.

Fast forward to the Super Bowl. The city made the existing soccer fields available to the NFL for two months so that a press facility could be built. The fields themselves will be destroyed in the process and will have to be rebuilt. But the use of the soccer fields for a purpose other than soccer violates the use permit, and the city didn't hold a public hearing as required prior to their agreeing to give the fields to the NFL. There's no place to play the games, and there's no clear plan concerning the rebuild of the fields once the Super Bowl is over.

As a result, Santa Clara Youth Soccer has filed a lawsuit.

Even though I don't live in Santa Clara, I resent the bad treatment of the soccer league by the city. I sincerely hope the lawsuit is successful and that the city leaders learn a bit about honesty from their experience.

You can email Mayor Matthews and the city council at:

[email protected]

Comments (11)

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm

I'm not familiar with field ownership / use laws to know how legal thus is or is not, but as written it seems the kids got screwed. I hope with the money this event brings in the organization and city do the right thing and build some amazing youth fields.....maybe use an alternative contractor than the one that sodded the stadium

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm

I'm betting those existing soccer fields magically turn into a giant paved parking lot for players and high dollar seat holders, it's a no brainer!! Go get em kids, I hope you can successfully sue the pants off the city and the 49ers, really tired of city planners being so short-sighted.

Posted by Youth soccer fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2016 at 10:20 pm


One, the City/NFL began digging up the soccer fields today (Monday) in direct violation to the judge's order to not do anything until Wednesday's scheduled hearing. As a result the hearing has been moved to Tuesday.

And Two, it turns out that the youth soccer league suggested that the 49ers practice field be used for the press area, since the 49ers won't be using it at the same time as the Super Bowl. However, all three parties - the 49ers, the NFL, and the city of Santa Clara - ignored this. God Forbid we should cause harm to the precious 49ers field while we can lay waste to that of youth soccer instead.

Posted by Youth soccer fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

And today (Tuesday) the story hit the national news. This is from CNN's page. It includes pictures of the fields being dug up despite the judge's admonishment not to do so:

Web Link

Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

I grew up in Santa Clara. For the most part, Santa Clara has been extremely supportive of youth sports and youth activities in general. The Superbowl is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city to shine on the world stage.
What I don't get is why the soccer league is so upset. Soccer season is over. It ended the middle of November. The regular season does not start until August. The only activity going on now is competition playoffs to see which teams will vie for state cup and which teams get to advance to US regionals and US nationals. There are many cities in the Bay Area that can host these playoff rounds.
The Santa Clara competition teams only need a place to practice and Santa Clara has plenty of practice fields available. Santa Clara soccer league did fine for decades without the fields that were recently built near the Levi stadium location.
Threatening to sue the city and the professional football league will only hurt the league's cause. From February until August is enough time to rebuild the damaged fields into a world class youth soccer competition site. If I was this league's president I would be asking what the league could do for the city and NFL, not what the city and NFL can do for the soccer league. Karma has a way of returning kindness with kindness.

Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

The land was donated for soccer fields (that is a legal restriction placed on the land by the donors) it is a violation of the City's fiduciary duty to use them for other purposes. The City could have bough similar quality land and traded for the Tasman drive property. Instead they decided to offer up sub-standard crappy land, which the soccer community declined (rightfully so)
There is a restaurant across the street that the NFL is demanding be closed due to "security" reasons. The proprietor is being screwed by the city and the NFL (when his location should have allowed him to benefit from the event.

The NFL and the City of Santa Clara screwed the soccer league, the proprietor and the kids.

I recommend the movie to concussion for anyone who thinks that the NFL gives a rats ass about the kids

Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

"The Superbowl is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city (Santa Clara) to shine on the world stage."
Let's see how well Santa Clara benefits from this. They are still the "San Francisco" 49ers, after all, not the "Santa Clara" 49ers. Most, if not all, of the Super Bowl activities will happen in San Francisco, not Santa Clara. And to reward Santa Clara, they will get soccer fields overtaken, a restaurant possibly closed, a golf course closed, and a giant traffic nightmare, just to name a few things.

"If I was this league's president I would be asking what the league could do for the city and NFL, not what the city and NFL can do for the soccer league."
Are you kidding? The NFL could couldn't care less about a soccer league in Santa Clara. The NFL is a business - a very big and powerful business -, and if it had it's way, it would crush every other sport and entertainment option that exists, including youth soccer. The NFL will do NOTHING for this soccer league unless it threatens them with a lawsuit or bad publicity.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 5, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

These days the football moves up and down the field more so because of penalty, than it does because of raw talent.

National Football League is on course to implode, sooner than later.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:04 am

You guys have yet to explain why these soccer fields are needed "now". As I have said the only youth soccer players involved in soccer this time of year are competitive division players. This is a very small percentage of the total youth playing in the league. The media is hyping this up by saying the field closure will affect 6,000 players. This is a lie. Most of the recreational youth soccer players will never even step foot on these fields. There is about 18 players to a team and 5 competitive age groups. So you are really talking about closing these fields to use "for practice" for less than 100 players. Santa Clara has two high schools, four if you count Peterson and the old Santa Clara high school plus Santa Clara University. All with excellent fields for practice. I am sure a simple phone call to the school district or university would be all that is required to allow these youth teams to use the practice fields.
I get a kick out of the parents of these competitive players who go on TV and cry a river. "My little Suzy is 15 years old and on her way to a college scholarship and she needs to be seen by college coaches at the league's soccer fields". Number one, hopefully your little Suzy will not tear her ACL because she is playing one sport and is putting repetitive strain on overused muscle groups. Number 2, college coaches do not have time to watch youth soccer players practice. The only time they evaluate players is at large competitions where hundreds of teams participate in two or three days. Number 3, you will have better luck getting struck by lightening then getting a full ride scholarship to a Class I division college.
To me, the league president's time would be better spent trying to get the city and NFL to open up opportunities for the soccer league's kids to participate in some manner in the Superbowl festivities.

Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:47 am

@ Bill - It is very simple. Once the NFL gets their hooks into those practice fields, there will be no going back. The NFL is spending millions to prepare the stadium and surrounding areas to meet their needs. They have started to tear up the fields and I have little hope they will return the fields to their original condition.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

You know the saying "you can't fight city hall". If you can't fight city hall how in the heck are you going to fight the NFL with their legions of lawyers plus city hall? If the soccer club wins the lawsuit they will loose big time. The NFL will require at least a 25 million dollar bond from the youth soccer league in order to move the media center. When was the last time a youth soccer club had 25 million? Any judge in their right mind will side with the city and NFL since the city has the right to allocate and reallocate the purpose of this property and the NFL was promised use of this property until March 2nd by the city council and affirmed by the city's general counsel in 2013. If the soccer league was left out of loop on all of the details, that's the way it goes. Life sometimes doesn't go your way. If it doesn't, find a way to make lemonade.

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