Soccer squeeze at Richmond High

It is said that futsal, that five-a-side form of soccer played indoors on a basketball court, helps build ball skills as players try to pass and maneuver in limited space. But playing soccer in a school hallway might be stretching (or should we say, compressing?) things a bit. After his team had come from behind on the road to beat Alameda High 3-1 at Thompson Field on Jan. 9, Oilers coach Rene Siles said his players had to practice in the hall of Richmond High the previous night. He added that the team would have to practice in the same venue the following night, Jan. 10, and there again on Jan. 12. On the plus side, the Oilers are getting a new all-weather field. Problem is, that field – – which was expected to have been up and going by now – – is not yet ready for play. Patience is running short.

"It’s just not fair to these kids," Siles says. "They work hard. They are committed."

In the first half of their match with Alameda, the Oilers looked uncharacteristically flat. They had given up a penalty kick for a 1-0 deficit. Notching the equalizer early in the second half seemed to energize the Oilers. And through Jan. 9, the team still was undefeated and untied atop the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League standings.

When all clicks, the Oilers play a most interesting and entertaining brand of soccer. They exude a special passion for the game. This is soccer from the heart, as opposed to some other schools that play the game as if programmed by computer.

The Oilers’ game against Alameda, however, had its rough edges. Though Richmond is a strong team as it is, one wonders what the quality of Oilers soccer could be if the team was able to practice on a full field at its own school.


  • Lisa Mendez

    I am a parent of a Richmond player. I am very upset with the school district for disrespecting our players and our families. Our children had to practice at Pinole High until 10:30 some nights. They have no place to practice right now and the district keeps on telling us that the field will be ready “next week.” Those people have no respect whatsoever for us. It is time that us parents and community members go to a board meeting and protest. Parents in Richmond can also get organized. Let’s do it!!!!

  • Amy Fang

    It is bad that these kids do not get the support they deserve. I am not from Richmond, but we play their team in our league twice a year. They are always a pleasure to watch by the way they move they pass the ball around the field like in a ballet. They are polite and they show a lot of sportsmanship. Why their school district does not value groups like these? If I were their parents I would be all over the administration, I can tell you that.