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“Are you mature enough to handle that?”

Submitted by on 1, October 8, 2009 – 6:00 am14 Comments

101-300x225The City Council, sitting as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, spent nearly 90-minutes of Wednesday night locked in a battle royale over approval of a three-year field lease for the Piedmont Soccer Club out at Alameda Point.

Apparently, a certain vice mayor was none too happy that the word “Alameda” is not included in the club’s name. Still, one of the Alameda Soccer Club’s leaders appeared to say the local soccer club and even other local sports clubs are in favor of the lease, as did the leader of the league the two clubs belong to (an Alameda resident whose kids play in the Alameda club).

The discussion drilled deep into the mechanics of youth soccer in this little corner of the world. We’re talking “Everything You Ever (Really Didn’t) Want to Know About Youth Soccer” territory, a place that even some of the council members said they didn’t want to go.

“This is an intramural squabble between soccer clubs. We don’t get into that. We just get into the terms of the lease,” Councilman Frank Matarrese said.

Here’s the not-so-quick and dirty:

Apparently, there has been a bit of a to-do about the availability of local fields for local players in the Alameda Soccer Club, which is part of the Jack London Youth Soccer League, a group of six clubs across Alameda, Oakland and Piedmont that share fields, costs, etc. The consternation has led to questions about the Piedmont club’s lease of the Point field, which they get rent-free in exchange for performing maintenance that their field director said costs them about $40,000 a year.

Vice Mayor Doug deHaan, for one, wanted to know why the lease isn’t held by the Alameda Soccer Club, instead of a club from off the Island. And he said he’d heard that local teams were having a tough time scheduling fields for their roughly 1,400 players.

Even Councilwoman Marie Gilmore jumped on this point, saying she’d heard that the Point field had at times sat empty as Alameda players doubled up on other fields (as a result, the lease was amended to allow Rec and Parks to schedule uses when the field is available).

“When the fields are empty, Alameda soccer clubs had to double up, and use other fields. True?” Gilmore asked Gabe Longoria, Alameda Soccer Club’s field coordinator.

“Yes,” Longoria replied.

“I’m sorry, the answer was?” Gilmore repeated.

“The answer is yes,” Longoria replied.

The leadership of the soccer clubs and the league said they think the lease is in the best interests of Alameda and our local soccer players. They said Piedmont pays the bill for maintaining the field, and our kids have the opportunity to play or practice on it. If they didn’t take the lease in the first place, the field would instead be a big, fat patch of weeds, they said.

They said drought-driven watering restrictions did have some impact on field availability, but that Alameda actually has an abundance of fields for soccer and that the Alameda club hasn’t suffered from a lack of field availability this year. They said the issues is that a lot of folks don’t want to make the half-hour drive from, say, Fernside Boulevard to the Point to practice or play. One former member of the Alameda Soccer board said that in the five years Piedmont Soccer held its most current lease on the field, Alameda Soccer teams have only requested it twice.

And they said that Alameda Soccer had been offered the lease in the past but that it didn’t feel it had the resources to cover the terms, which now include field maintenance and a water bill. But deHaan wondered if the Alameda club couldn’t take it up now.

“Are you mature enough to handle that?” he asked Longoria.

An exasperated Mayor (and soccer mom) Beverly Johnson said she thinks the arrangement has been good for Alameda and that people need to quit their griping and help out more.

“It’s been a very positive thing for sports in Alameda,” Johnson said of the arrangement. “We’ve had accusations, we’ve had allegations, not just from Vice Mayor deHaan, but the people here. What I would suggest is, get out there and volunteer, instead of making allegations about people.”

Oh, and if you’re still reading: The board voted 5-0 to okay the lease.

Now, on to the reason I was actually watching this meeting in the first place: Looks like the city is going to have to dump another half million dollars into cleaning up after the fire that gutted an abandoned military records building on the FISC (aka Future Alameda Landing) property back in March.

Apparently the parts of the building that are still standing aren’t stable enough for the cleanup crews to get in there to pull out all the asbestos-covered stuff inside, which has to be separated and sent to a special dump. So the city needs more money to finish the work.

The additional funds will bring the cleanup cost to $2 million, which will come from lease revenues out at the Point. Economic Development Director Leslie Little said the money will come from a cash balance held in the budget of the city’s redevelopment arm. Little said the city may also get a $200,000 cleanup grant from the state Department of Toxic Substance Control, which could help cut costs.

She said city staff are still talking to Catellus, which was supposed to be developing the former FISC property into Alameda Landing, about how much they’ll pay for the building’s demolition and cleanup – something they were planning to do in the first phase of construction.

Little said city staff are hoping that first phase, albeit smaller than originally planned, will move forward sometime in the next few months.

Stay tuned.


  • Michele,

    As the President of the Jack London league, I'd just like to apologize to you and anyone else who had to endure what was, largely, the intramural squabble Frank Matarrese described. Fortunately, the 1400 kids in Alameda Soccer, many of whom have played or practiced on the fields at Alameda Point, remain blissfully unaware of the antics their adults put on.

    Christopher Seiwald


    Jack London Youth Soccer League

  • Scott says:

    Thank you for your apology Christopher. That this actually happened is a joke. Just another reason to start developing the point and getting that giant sports recreation area up and running. Stories like this are amazing.

  • Scott says:

    Excellent point too Barbara. if there were any shops on webster anyone wanted to go to they would receive a ton of business from oakland piedmont berkeley and san francisco folks.

    • Scott,

      Have you been in the new cafe, Wescafe, there? I'd be happy to take you for a cup of coffee there if you'd like to check it out. :)

      I am also a huge fan of Lanvie, Serendipity, Aquacotta, Otaez and the Farmer's Market. And Yumygurt. And the doughnut place (which is saying a lot, because I have definite ideas of what constitutes a doughnut).

      PS I left out Alameda Pizza. The guy that runs it is super-nice and their pizza sauce is addictive.

      PPS Totally forgot about the Fireside. Love them too.

  • alameda says:

    And … there's Julie's coffee shop on Park St :)

  • Scott says:


    I hear ya on Wescafe that is the kind of shops and restaurants I would like to see more of on Webster. Little less fast food and dim sum and little more wes cafe and fireside

  • Sarah says:

    We need a dim sum place on Park Street. There's always a line (and long wait) at East Ocean. I was told that East Ocean's Dim Sum generates more revenue in one day than Wescafe in an entire month, but Wescafe is still new.

  • Barbara M says:

    Actually soccer at Alameda Point is good for Park Street believe it or not. I have had many shoppers from Piedmont and Rockridge find my store because they came to find Peet’s after a game. It is pretty obvious by looking their child’s shirt where they are from but most of them have commented on what a great little area they had heard about but never come to see. Lots of return business too.

  • Barbara M says:

    I love Wescafe. They actually make me miss the cafe business, but not enough to start waking up at 3 a.m. again. Try their Strawberry lemonade, it is amazing. Orange Juice is squeezed when you order, that says it all. Their quiche is quite good too. To top it off you get to sit in the garden. I hope people really do find it and they are very successful. They have such a diverse menu that it is great for people who want to stay or eat on the run.

    As much as I hope it also helps out Webster I am grateful when they find me too.

  • Alameda Soccer coach says:

    ….hmmm – interesting that our Alameda Youth Soccer team never gets to practice on an actual soccer field (this season or last year)- the only time our players get to play with real goals, on a real full size field is when we play a game. We did not have an option for a field with goals, never did. We share some grass between baseball fields at a park with another team. We are not the only team in this situation and as a coach, I can tell you it is not as fair and blissful. This is baffling, simply baffling and it continues each season, how do you explain this as being fair to the players – and they do notice….unlike the commentor from Jack London…the players DO KNOW.

  • To the coach who doesn't have goals at his/her practice field … there is space/time available at the Alameda Point fields, and they have goals set up. Email stephen.collins@calibre.com, the field coordinator there, for information.


  • Scott says:

    Next we are going to hear how the coach doesn't think it is fair that he has to go to alameda point to practice with goals. It will only be fair if the goals were already set up at the field they already practice at. People need to start coming up with solutions and stop complaing about how stuff is not fair. I can not stand people who complain aout how anything is not fair. Start spending more time on solutions and less on complaining and there will be no need to whine how things are not fair. Piedmont did not have enough space for their soccer program. Instead of complaining and saying it wasn't fair they found a solution and help out the city of alameda finacially in the process.

  • Michael Schmitz says:

    I live in Alameda. I coach an Alameda club soccer team. I have coached a Jack London affiliated Bay Oaks team. I have two kids who love playing soccer. And I have been to Alameda Point fields more times than most commentators to this blog will ever know.

    In my opinion there is too much adult ego involved in the comments of some fellow Alameda coaches, and too little, "let's just do what it best for the kids" approach. I am frankly getting a little tired of having to deal with the immaturity of a few of the adults in the club. The sport is for all of our kids. We all live in the East Bay. We all need to remember that and stop the petty bickering – it doesn't matter whether our kids are from Alameda, Piedmont, Montclair, Oakland – we are all parents of kids in the East Bay and Jack London Soccer club and they want to play. Please take a step back and think about the kids – and the game – and stop thinking about your own ego.

  • Scott says:

    Well said Michael I could not agree more. People are tired of complainers

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