The Santa Clara Youth Soccer League added the NFL to their lawsuit against the City of Santa Clara today. The NFL started Super Bowl 50 construction this morning.
The professional football league was added to the lawsuit because the City of Santa Clara is giving possession of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park to the NFL today. In addition, Superior Court Judge Huber did not grant the youth soccer league a Temporary Restraining Order last week because the NFL was not a party to the lawsuit.
“The city and the NFL will displease the court and take a huge risk if they move one bulldozer before a formal hearing,” said Gautum Dutta, the attorney representing Santa Clara Youth Soccer League (SCYSL).
The youth soccer league is fighting to protect the 11-acre soccer park facility that sits in the shadow of Levi’s Stadium. The City of Santa Clara withheld Super Bowl plans to host a giant media village on the soccer fields from the youth soccer organization until December 15, 2015. The City broke the law when it agreed to close the youth soccer park without holding a legally required public hearing. They ignored the Soccer Park Use Permit Rules restricting use of the park to soccer youth organizations. And they displaced the soccer players who are without safe soccer fields to host nearly 200 games this Spring Season.
The soccer league’s lawsuit has proposed many solutions that could provide a win-win result for the NFL and the soccer community.
Because the City handed over the Soccer Park to the NFL today, all the Santa Clara soccer teams have no place to play home games. “For example, our Santa Clara Sporting 02 Boys Team is scheduled to host the first round of the NorCal Premier State Cup Tournament this weekend, but we have no home fields to play on,” said Steve Roberston, a SCYSL Board Member and Assistant Coach of the team. “Our team is the top seed of our age group in the State Cup Tournament, and if we cannot host the game, and if our opponent cannot find a field we would forfeit and jeopardize our State Cup Championship run.”
The City of Santa Clara claim they provided adequate fields to the soccer league, but the truth is we were only given access to two small soccer fields at the Twin Creeks Sports Complex from January 4th – February 25th. The Twin Creeks fields are too small to host games and only available from Monday-Thursday; the league plays soccer games every weekend.
The City's soccer-field contract allows the NFL to build a huge media village to host 6,000 journalists on the Soccer Park's three fields. It means that the NFL will rip out the soccer dugouts and fencing that are cemented into the ground, cover the fields with plywood and build a giant tented media village, drive heavy trucks and fork lifts onto the international quality soccer fields. The City and NFL will ruin the fields. Equally troubling, it is unclear when -- and in what shape -- the fields will be returned.
The battle over the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park stems from the San Francisco 49ers’ attempt to buy the soccer park property from the City through a closed door City Council Meeting last March. The 49ers’ offer of $15 million for the 11-acre Youth Soccer Park facility was a small fraction of the fair-market value. The Santa Clara Youth Soccer League orchestrated a huge protest at City Hall in March 2015, and stopped the City from selling the land out from under the kids. The City had made no provision to secure replacement soccer fields before they attempted to sell the fields.
Santa Clara Youth Soccer League media services
— David Louie (@abc7david) January 4, 2016