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Loving soccer in San Carlos, but not each other

By rgordon
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 at 12:35 pm in Uncategorized.

San Carlos soccer playerThey may all love soccer (as evidenced by this soccer player pictured here), but it appears – at the moment, anyway – that all of San Carlos’ soccer lovers don’t exactly love each other.

The San Andreas Youth Soccer Organization (SAYSO), a peninsula-wide youth soccer academy and competitive club based in Belmont, is suing San Carlos for access to field space. But to get all the information that they need to pursue the case, SAYSO’s attorneys have given other local soccer organizations – who are not plaintiffs in the suit – subpoenas to “produce a lot of stuff,” according to Dan Robinson, president of the San Carlos United Soccer Club.

Robinson worries that attorney’s fees to complete – or fight – the work required by the subpoena could quickly eat up the $10,000 the non-profit organization has in the bank to sustain their season’s activities.

“Once we get the attorneys involved, that’ll pretty much wipe us out,” Robinson said. “That’s the stressful part for us. They seem to not have a problem with it. We’re just a bunch of volunteers.”

Included in the subpoena are a list of children’s names and addresses that have been enrolled in the club, and copies of every communication they’ve had with the city since the start of the decade.

“That’s two of the 20 requests that they’ve made of us,” Robinson said. “It’s just an extensive amount of information that they’re asking for.”

Robinson is further worried that the list of names and addresses could violate their young members’ privacy.

“That’s really the biggest issue,” Robinson told us Friday.

San Carlos has denied SAYSO field use permits, citing that its over-taxed fields need to be reserved for organizations with 90 percent of their members residing in San Carlos. SAYSO, which has 20 percent of its members residing in San Carlos, contends that San Carlos is violating the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, is set for a hearing on May 8 to consider the city’s motion for summary judgment in their favor (which would dispose of the case). The city has had to seek outside counsel to represent them in the matter.

Subpoenas were also issued to San Carlos AYSO and Kidz Love Soccer in San Mateo. SAYSO attorney Dan Zamora, of San Francisco law firm Tobin & Tobin, said those organizations turned over their documents after negotiations. Zamora said he hadn’t heard from San Carlos United, but Robinson contends that Tobin & Tobin hasn’t returned their calls.

“They have not objected to complying,” Zamora said of AYSO and Kidz Love Soccer. “We agreed on specific information that was most pertinent to this lawsuit.”

As a part of subsequent agreements, Zamora said, neither San Carlos AYSO nor Kidz Love Soccer had to provide names or addresses of players. He also said that San Carlos United can petition the court “to limit the production (of documents) if they deem it overbroad.”

Michael Lindeburg, SAYSO’s executive director, said that his organization “does not have any beef” with San Carlos United and that it “doesn’t need to spend a dime to hire a lawyer” unless “it thinks it has something to hide.” According to Lindeburg, all that they’re asking of San Carlos United is to provide information to validate the city’s claims.

“The San Carlos United Soccer Club’s worry that it will need to hire a lawyer to protect itself and the privacy of its members is unfounded,” Lindeburg said in an email statement. “San Carlos claims to have already requested and received membership information from the San Carlos United Soccer Club, so this wouldn’t be the first time that the San Carlos United Soccer Club has released the information. Unfortunately, the City hasn’t found, maintained, or produced the information it claims to have received from the San Carlos United Soccer Club.”

San Carlos United is primarily an independent organization affiliated with the California Youth Soccer Association – North, which Robinson said offered no help with the subpoena. San Carlos AYSO and Kidz Love Soccer are part of national organizations with corporate attorneys to back them.

That made the subpoena a lot easier on Brad Driver, commissioner of San Carlos AYSO. Still, he said, “whether it’s San Carlos United or AYSO, it still costs money and man hours and resources.

“SAYSO is causing a lot of issues for a number of the cities,” Driver continued. “Unfortunately it’s a part of suburban life when you’re trying to get field space.”

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2 Responses to “Loving soccer in San Carlos, but not each other”

  1. Michael Lindeburg Says:

    “Loving soccer in San Carlos, but not each other” is well-written and accurate, but I have two comments. First, it’s important to note that SAYSO seeks field space in San Carlos only for the number of San Carlos residents it has registered. If, for example, SAYSO has 50 San Carlos residents, and 50 SAYSO registrants use San Carlos fields, that would represent a residency percentage of 100%. Reporting that SAYSO’s residency is 20% implies that SAYSO wants to use San Carlos fields for 100% of its members, which is not true. SAYSO’s San Mateo residents practice and play in San Mateo, and SAYSO’s Belmont residents practice and play in Belmont, and so on.

    All SAYSO’s lawsuit seeks is to allow San Carlos children to practice and play in their own city.

    Second, it is not surprising that CYSA would not assist San Carlos United in addressing the subpoena, because San Carlos United is not affiliated with CYSA. San Carlos United is a private commercial organization, as is nonprofit SAYSO and every other soccer club on the peninsula – all 15 or so of them. When the City of San Carlos gives fields to San Carlos United but not to SAYSO, it is equivalent to the city giving favorable treatment to Safeway but not Foodville, or to Shell but not Union 76, or to Pizza Hut but not Round Table. Since San Carlos United appealed to CYSA, apparently, San Carlos United really believes that it is part of CYSA, an impression that the City of San Carlos is just now beginning to understand as being inaccurate, after referring to San Carlos United as “CYSA” for decades.

    The City allows some San Carlos children to use the fields for soccer, but not others, and that’s about as blatant an ‘unequal protection under the law’ as it comes.

  2. Another Illegal Immigrant? Says:

    Besides checking to see where most of the players are from, the City should do a survey on how many of them are in the country illegally.

    It is a known fact that the illegal aliens is the group of people who use soccer fields the most.

    In Redwood City, every soccer field is over ran with illegal aliens. Our Parks & Rec Dept. spends millions of dollars a year to build and maitain soccer fields that are used almost exsclusivly by illegal aliens. The even installed artificial turf at the cost of over a millionb dollars so these illegals wouldn’t have to play on muddy fields. (and so they would not
    have to use water credits watering the field)

    I would make an ordinance or policy that stated that since there is such a controversy as to the use of the fields, all players would need a “soccer field pass”, which would be issued for for 5-10 bucks a year to cover the administrative costs, and to get such a card you would need to prove where you lived, and if you were in the country legally.

    now all of you liberal no-border do-gooders can scream racist..or nazi… I dont care.. our country cannot handle the load of illegalls that are coming in and over-taxing our valuable recources… soccer fields included.

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