Soccer field conditions hinders teams ability to compete

Horrid soccer field leaves team with no option but to schedule many away games

Soccer field conditions hinders teams ability to compete

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

As second-class citizens of the American sports world, soccer players and coaches are continually treated unfairly by colleges and leagues who sabotage their own teams by failing to provide quality facilities, including safe and respectable fields on which teams practice and play their games.
The Contra Costa College men’s soccer team’s pitch is like playing on a rocky sand dune that has the possibility of doing damage to the players’ ankles during every sprint they take on it. CCC soccer teams deserves a better field, especially the men’s team due to their success over the last five years, on and off the field.

Ever since Nikki Ferguson took over the program, the team has won Bay Valley Conference championships and post-season berths unmatched by any other team at the college.

The CCC athletic department hasn’t seen success like this since the tenure of former women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt and former football coach Alonzo Carter.

Ferguson has been able to bring talent from all over the East Bay to CCC (which is difficult) and create a solid program the college can be proud of. So, to continue to allow this team to play on such a horrid soccer pitch leaves me dumbfounded.

For a program that is trying to break into the upper echelon of the state’s soccer programs, not having a suitable field is a major setback. When scheduling non-conference games, the Ferguson struggles to entice other prestigious programs to come to San Pablo to play the Comets at home. This results in the team making regular long trips to colleges in the South Bay and the Central Valley for games.

Sure, it can be argued that there isn’t money to renovate the soccer, baseball and softball fields. But for the soccer team to continue to make those long drives for games it is going to cost the college money because of the fuel and maintenance expenses for the athletic department vans.

Other colleges do not want to make the trek to San Pablo just to have their student-athletes play on a terrible, and potentially dangerous, field that could result in injury to their players.

But there is a solution.

A place that could host home soccer games is Comet Stadium, the current home of the football team. FIFA regulations state that a soccer field must be 130 to 100 yards (in length) and 100 to 50 yards (in width), so there is enough room to put a soccer pitch on the existing field at Comet Stadium.

It costs roughly $100 per 5-gallon bucket of permanent synthetic turf paint, so it’s not a reach to make this a reality.

Most community college gymnasium floors, for example, have basketball, volleyball and badminton lines on them and soccer players everywhere have played on fields in high school that had football and soccer lines on them.

So, it’s not an impossible idea to bring soccer to the stadium.

The college could tap into those $5 Student Activity Fee funds to pay for the field, instead of allowing the Associated Students Union to use them for events like a talent show where they gave out $520 worth of “scholarships” to participants.

Anyway, there is a great soccer culture in this area because of the excellent high school programs at Richmond, De Anza and Kennedy high schools.

By having games at Comet Stadium, it would allow the college to tap into the rich fandom that lives in this area because the stadium provides a better facility to watch games.

Improving the environment at soccer games will result in more games on campus, more people at games and will allow the college to even make money selling meals, snacks and drinks at games.

To the leaders of this college I say this is an opportunity for you to leave a lasting legacy by providing CCC soccer teams with a quality place to compete and practice. Don’t let this opportunity slip away.