NFL Boots Kids from Local Soccer Park for Super Bowl

Levi's Stadium AP
Jeff Chiu/AP

Soccer moms and the female members of the Santa Clara City Council are furious that the NFL will use the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park as a “media village” for roughly 6,000 people at Super Bowl 50, which will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7.

Alleging that they were not informed the soccer field would be used as a “media village,” as it was originally presented as a staging area for the Super Bowl half-time show, and also perturbed because youth soccer players will be displaced for two months for the 250 games scheduled, the women and some local soccer officials are speaking out, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Their concerns include the displacement of the games as well as the condition of the field when the NFL finishes using the property.

Vice Mayor Debi Davis and Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill also oppose the use of the field by the NFL.

But Mayor Jamie Matthews asserted that the NFL “promised to leave it in as good or better shape than they found it,” adding, “It’s drama for the sake of drama. The reality of it is the NFL has committed in writing to repair any damage. This will be a temporary inconvenience.” The City Council in 2013 unanimously approved the use of the soccer park, golf course and other city sites to the NFL, according to Matthews.

Tino Silva, president of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League, told Fox News Latino, “They are going to be putting plywood down on the fields. If you put plywood down on the grass, the grass dies. We [would be] getting back a field that’s dead. And it’s hard to grow grass in the middle of the winter, even in California. Since the game is six weeks away, [if] you plan to replace the fields, wouldn’t you have a contractor lined up? We don’t have a contract with anyone to fix it.”

In April, Daniel Lurie, chairman of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, said, “Our commitment from the beginning has been to put our Bay Area community first, and create real opportunities for our region to benefit from this opportunity to host Super Bowl 50, whether it is local businesses or our Bay Area’s nonprofit community.”

The San Francisco 49ers officials have joined the NFL to replace two grass fields at the soccer park after the Super Bowl for free; Bob Lange, vice president of communications for the San Francisco 49ers, argued that had Santa Clara refused to allow the use of the soccer park, the city would have lost its bid for the Super Bowl. The 49ers have consistently tried to gain the use of the park for parking.

Lange said the 49ers have no interest in using the field for parking anymore.