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Pleasanton Preps: Foothill forgoes freshman football season due to low participation

Original post made on Sep 17, 2019

In what may turn out to be a very realistic preview of what the future holds, Foothill High School has dropped its freshman football team due to a lack of players.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 11:04 AM

Comments (37)

Posted by Fedup
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Not surprising at all. The 2015 movie Concussion was a real eye opener about the correlation of football and head injuries that result in many issues later in life, especially CTE and the effects. After seeing this movie and doing a little research, I pulled my son out of football and transitioned him to baseball and basketball. Seems the low participation rate described in the article may be attributed to other parents realizing how dangerous playing football really is and now allowing their boys to play. Boston University is studying this in depth. Paste this into your browser for more info.

Web Link

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2019 at 5:26 pm

Yet when you see how active the Next Level Flag Football program is with kids up to 8th grade, have we achieved the point where it makes sense to have a flag league for kids who want to continue playing into High School but won’t play tackle?

Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 18, 2019 at 6:17 am

I remember when there were so many kids on the freshmen team they had 5th quarter. It’s crazy to see Pleasanton changing in all ways. Nothing stays the same forever I guess but just sucks to see.

Posted by Robert
a resident of Dublin
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:40 am

I pulled my kids out of football they didn’t like the position they played. Plus, I don’t want my kids to get bulk up and fat just to gain mass and be linebackers in a high school. They love basketball and volleyball

Posted by Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 18, 2019 at 9:28 am

@Robert-Good thing you pulled them out because they didn’t like the positions they played for a sport they had committed to. Football takes a lot of dedication and it’s a special bond of brotherhood that keeps them there.

Posted by Foothill parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:29 am


As I'm sure you're aware, back in the day, there was no such thing as a "Freshman" team. It was JV and Varsity.

Part of the problem is, as you pointed out, for some of these freshmen, it's their first year of tackle football--that's not a good thing (i.e., welcome to high school football).

My son played 3 years of PJFL flag football, then 2 years of PJFL tackle football, so he was WELL prepared for stepping up to the increased rigors of high school-level football.

Coach Haubner and his staff do an INCREDIBLE job of getting these young men in shape with a comprehensive strength and conditioning program that extends well before the season even begins, and they teach and instill modern blocking and tackling methods as well.

As for the parents who pull their kids out of football because they think it's dangerous, as opposed to baseball and basketball, I've seen plenty of injuries in both of those sports over the years, including concussions. Their is risk in everything one does in life--so tired of people singling out football as the 'bad' sport. It's not. And don't even get me started on soccer--I've seen more people injured (concussions, broken legs, arms, cuts, etc.) in that sport than any other.

As Parent said, Football DOES take a lot of dedication and it DEFINITELY is a special bond of brotherhood that keeps them there.

And Dennis, re: your comment, "Football used to unite the entire school, bringing everyone together and instilling school pride. It's tough to watch that eroding."

Well, let me tell you--whomever is running the Foothill band should be ashamed and embarrassed--at least compared with what I see at other high schools when Foothill's on the road/away--that being entire bands in attendance, in full dress, and not only performing at halftime, but also IN THE STANDS FOR THE ENTIRE GAME, and playing uptempo music in support of their team.

The home stands at Foothill are still packed for every home game from what I can see, yet, the lack of support from the band is borderline pathetic.

Bottom line: Football can and does unite the entire school, bringing everyone together and instilling school pride--but people have to stand and deliver.

Football, at the high school and college leverl, unites and instills school pride like no other sport. And keep in mind that some kids may not either like or are good at baseball, or basktball, or volleyball, or swimming--they LIKE playing football; they gravitate towards it as their sport of choice.

Let's not see it fall by the wayside just because others want to dismiss it as the 'bad sport du jour.'

Thanks, and see you at the next game--Go Falcons!!

Posted by Amador Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Foothill Parent –
There are a few things you need to know about the two high school bands. Did you know Band is also competitive activity which in itself is demanding physically? As is Cheer-leading! Does the Football team go in uniform to their competitions and cheer them on? I'm not saying they should but they and you should be appreciative of the presence of these students at their games and the support. I am not familiar with the cheer leading schedule but the bands often practice all day on Saturdays, even after Friday home games.

I want to take a moment acknowledge that the prevailing attitude at Amador is very appreciative of the Band. Both among the students and parents. THANK YOU! To the Foothill parents and students that support your Band, Thank you too!

You should also know your audience includes these students you have implied are a part of the decline in interest and support in Football (in my opinion, not true). Your negative post has spread to other social media groups. If you truly have constructive suggestions on what the band is playing, doing, where they are sitting, why not have a discussion with the Music Director. I imagine a lot of thought has been taken on the best place for a large band to be in attendance.

As far as the students that make up these groups, I have found them to be wonderful people. They are good sportsman and a joy to volunteer with! All the best to both Bands!

Posted by BarbFasse
a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:37 pm

BarbFasse is a registered user.

At one point the only reason people went to the games were to watch the drumline. These are hardworking students and you Dennis are acting like a child.

Posted by CM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2019 at 10:45 am

Not sure how this became a discussion on bands. the point of the article was the decline of participation in football at the high school level.

Here's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about; the demographics in Pleasanton have changed drastically, especially on the west side of town. The knew majority of students in the school district are Asian (47%) and they do not participate in contact sports in numbers that will sustain those sports. I am not saying that is bad, I'm just stating the obvious since you can see it on the field. Does all the publicity concerning concussions impact the turn out? Simple answer is YES, big time.

If anyone thinks that, say 10 years ago, the MAJORITY of people came to watch the band play at halftime of a football game is delusional. No one has said the band students don't put in long hours of practice and work, they do. However, football was the engine that drove people to the games and the band came along for the ride. That is not a slight but an observation. Any activity that a student is involved in (sports, band, debate club...) is an activity that will keep them occupied and limit their time to get into trouble.

Posted by Hotslide
a resident of Oak Tree Acres
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:19 am

Just had a 7 hour back surgery with 4 rods in, bone grafts,vertebrate snipped, nerve canal opened, etc. All because of years of playing football. Never had a concussion. You will pay later, flag is enough !!

Posted by CM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2019 at 1:09 pm

WOW, all that from high school football? Sounds like you must have been in pain for a long time with all of the hardware they put in. Mine was due to a car accident, so you just never know.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


Bingo! It's demographics.


Posted by Ken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 20, 2019 at 4:14 pm

It might partially be demographics but football is declining nationally. There are professional football players and coaches who have said they would not let their children play, as the long term risks outweigh the benefits. It’s true that other sports have concussions but football is different as they believe CTE is caused by frequent small brain traumas that happen in everyday play, not big concussions. Yes, you might have a concussion in soccer but it is infrequent and you will know right away. Football has small brain trauma as part of the everyday game, daily hits and tackles. They think this causes the horrible long term effects of CTE which show up years after playing. Things change, people are better educated and there are plenty of other fun and challenging sports to play.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Livermore Demographics: Web Link

Pleasanton Demographics: Web Link

Livermore area High Schools still have Freshman Football programs: Web Link

Unless you're telling me that Pleasanton parents are SO much smarter and more caring than Livermore parents, I'd still say the demographic indicates the more likely cause than football safety.


Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 20, 2019 at 7:25 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

"...people are better educated and there are plenty of other fun and challenging sports to play."

You mean like soccer? If you are having trouble sleeping just watch a soccer game...the whole game. Ever seen the parents on the sidelines? If it wasn't for their cell phones they'd all be nodding off ;>}

Posted by Love Watching Marching Band!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2019 at 10:32 pm

I went to the Amador football game tonight just to watch the band . (They were amazing by the way!). And then half the stands cleared out.

Posted by CM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:27 pm

Ok, you proved your point. You are a typical band parent. Go for the first half of the game, watch your child march around the field at half time and go home. Been that way for the last 30 years with the band parents. Still, the article was about the loss of participation in freshman’s football and not how well the band plays. If football goes away so does the halftime show for the band. Lose lose for all concerned.

Posted by DooDoo
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2019 at 2:57 pm

The brain injuries associated with tackle football are real. We have only scratched the surface in the science behind it.
I’m a fanatical football fan and I throughly enjoy the game. I grew up playing it. But at no time does my passion for the game trump my responsibility as a parent. And before any of you keyboard warriors want to argue, first go watch a real tackle football practice (any age) and specifically watch the “dog fights”.. that’s when two or four boys line up facing each other ten yards apart and then sprint at each other as fast as they can, and smack foreheads. All usually hit the ground and most are visibly shaken. I’ve seen it first hand with parents cheering. It’s disgusting. I understand that it isn’t proper form tackling. I’m talking about the reality of what happens in the field. Even the best coaches in the world can’t prevent helmet to helmet contact. It’s the part of the game that can’t be eliminated.
After you see that, please explain why I would let my 10 year old do this? I’ll respond with all the other (safer) ways to build confidence and experiences in team surroundings.
All I’m trying to say is thank you to all the parents who let their children play tackle football. It’s very entertaining and addictive sport. I hope no I’ll towards anyone playing. But with the science already here to inform you, I won’t be sending my kid out there to smack foreheads with anyone...

Posted by Amador Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2019 at 6:04 pm

I went to see the cheerleaders (parent) but the Amador Band stole the show. I have seen a lot of high school football and a lot of halftime performances but last night was the best by a mile. 340 strong, all in sync. Kudos to the students and the army of parent volunteers that make a performance like that possible and of course the band director and professional staff.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 21, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The orchestra, jazz band, choirs, and other singing groups at AVHS are also phenomenal. Thank you Mr. Aubel! That whole side of the “house” is well managed and full of talented students and supportive parents.

Posted by Amador band parent
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 22, 2019 at 11:03 am

Amador Marching Dons stay for the whole football game. Not sure why people are saying everyone leaves at halftime, but I’d they do it’s not because the band isn’t there.

Posted by Amador band parent
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 22, 2019 at 11:06 am

Forgot to add that whoever said that the band loses its halftime show if football goes away is incorrect. Playing that halftime show is PRACTICE for competitions and a service the band does for the football team and the school. Just want to clarify.

Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 23, 2019 at 9:02 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

First, I have to say that I am laughing this morning over the comments and direction of this article, but let me be clear: I’m not laughing at the commenters. It just seems to be the pattern of commenting where it dissolves into something else. Just waiting for someone to blame Trump. LOL.

Secondly, I agree with DKHSK, it is strongly demographics. This happened to Mission High School in Fremont years ago; however, I too as a parent would be concerned about CTE- the problem increases due to the number of concussions comparable in like to the exposure of x-rays.

Lastly, the majority of kids won’t get a scholarship for football, but your child’s chances increase with golf and rowing (crew). I won’t touch the ‘Band’ comments except to say learning an instrument and playing it the rest of your life (even if just for personal enjoyment) is huge, and I recommend learning even at an older age.

Posted by Foothill parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm

To Amador band parent (and all the rest of the so-called 'band parents'):

Re: "Forgot to add that whoever said that the band loses its halftime show if football goes away is incorrect. Playing that halftime show is PRACTICE for competitions and a service the band does for the football team and the school. Just want to clarify."

Um, if there are no football games or football teams playing anymore, guess what? There will be no more games, and thus there will be no more halftime shows.

Also, stating that the halftime show at high school football games, as you put it, "is PRACTICE for competitions and a service the band does for the football team and the school," well, thanks for clearly stating that, in your opinion, the band (at least the one at Amador, since you're an "Amador band parent") really doesn't care about supporting their football team--they're just there to PRACTICE for their band competitions, and basically to just provide a service to the Amador football team and the school.

Wow--silly me. Maybe you should re-read Dennis' article. Pretty sad state of affairs.

As others have commented, this really, really isn't about the BAND.

Neither Amador's nor Foothill's. Nor the Amador band vs. the Foothill band.

Posted by Band Parent
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 23, 2019 at 2:36 pm

@ Foothill Parent - I'm happy to prioritize having the marching band support the football team to the extent the football team supports the band. Let me know when the football team is planning to come to a band competition; I'll save them some seats.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

DKHSK is a registered user.


It has been TRADITION that marching bands provide encouragement (through fight songs) during the game and entertainment at halftime.

It's a symbiotic relationship, for crying' out aloud!

Trying to make the team and band equivalent is the classic nerd vs. athlete argument of who is best.

The vast majority of attendees that come to a football game are there to watch FOOTBALL, but this doesn't mean that the band is any less enjoyable.

Get over yourselves.


Posted by Band Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 24, 2019 at 10:43 am

Dan - your bias against the band would have been less obvious if you had not used a perjorative putdown in your statement. Think about that next time you post.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 24, 2019 at 12:08 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Band parent,

So now “nerd” is a perjorative?

As I said: get over yourself.


Ps, I’m a former band member AND athlete.

Posted by CM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2019 at 7:19 pm

Dan - As you can tell sometimes you just can’t reason with some people. Band Parent hijacked this forum to make it about the band rather than the demise of freshman football at FHS. You are right, the band is there to support the football team and generate school spirt. Even if they consider it practice to preform at halftime, if football dies that is one less practice they get each week. Strictly a lose-lose proposition for all concerned. It is really sad to see this happening to a great sport but I do understand the concern of parents of potential CTE. Would be interesting to see a study on the affects of CTE on players that do not play past high school football. I would think it would be very rare in this day of awareness but again I haven’t seen a study.

Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:37 pm

Fifty Years Here is a registered user.

Not only has Foothill dropped the Freshman team, but their Varsity team doesn't travel in buses anymore, they carpool! That is embarrassing! What is this town coming to?

Posted by Foothill parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 25, 2019 at 9:39 am


Thank you both for your comments--spot on.

To Fifty Years Here:

Buses are gone for away games because not enough money was raised from all of the parents' $$$ contributions to support paying for them, since everything, 100%, is paid from parents and supporters of the teams--no funding whatsoever from PUSD.

Interestingly, I see PUSD is looking to float another bond measure. I'm pretty sure NONE of it will go to support athletics. Sad.

Finally, to Band Member:

It's 'pejorative', btw. Not 'perjorative'. If you're going to use fancy words, at least spell 'em correctly.

Posted by Foothill parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 25, 2019 at 10:04 am


My closing comments were directed to 'Band Parent', not 'Band Member.'

Posted by Fedup
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 25, 2019 at 10:35 am


Autopsies of the brains found signs of CTE in 177, or 87 percent of all the football players in the study. Specifically, it was found in 29 percent of high school players, 87 percent of college players, 71 percent of semi-pro players, 88 percent of Canadian Football League players and 99 percent of National Football League players.

Web Link

This is the only reason my Son no longer pays football and switched to Baseball and Basketball. This is very real and very scary, and I predict that in the future football, probably distant future tackle football will be banned, or at least regulated, that no contact will be allowed until a certain age.

Posted by FedUp too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2019 at 12:49 pm

I agree with FedUp. Having a sport associated with such debilitating injuries at the high school level does not make sense. If adults 18 years or older want to injure themselves, so be it.

Marching bands at the high school level seem to be on their way out as well. Somehow this activity has somehow morphed to some sort of competition frenzy over time and this just needs to end. Schools should just focus on concert performance bands only and dump the competition aspect. Musicians are not athletes and there is no need to subject students who play in bands to all of these musical competitions throughout the region.

Posted by Just Asking
a resident of West of Foothill
on Sep 26, 2019 at 11:36 am

I'll roll with this one.
The public schools as some point will just get rid of all sports. The cost and liability will become to much. The Club teams will then pick up all the players and compete against other cities not just school to school competition.

Posted by Just Asking
a resident of West of Foothill
on Sep 26, 2019 at 11:39 am

Still rolling.... Then the extra space from all the ball fields can be used to build more classroom space at all the schools. I would still plan on building another high school in the future but that would take care of the overcrowding issues currently at our high schools.

Posted by CM
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm

CM is a registered user.

Just Asking, What you are suggesting about Clubs picking up the sports programs from the schools is exactly what many European countries have been doing for decades.

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