Fight over youth soccer fields to be used for Super Bowl 50 postponed

David Louie Image
ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Friday, January 1, 2016
Fight over youth soccer fields to be used for Super Bowl 50 postponed
A legal showdown expected between a youth soccer league and the city of Santa Clara regarding Super Bowl 50 has been postponed.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- A legal showdown between a youth soccer league and the city of Santa Clara that was expected on Thursday has been postponed.

The battle is over the soccer park next to Levi's Stadium that's being taken over for Super Bowl 50, but the clock is ticking because the NFL is taking possession of the field on Monday.

The field was part of the deal that brought the Super Bowl to the Bay Area, but it is doubtful right now if on Monday the NFL will do anything with the field in preparation for the big game because of a legal battle involving the youth soccer league, even though they have a signed deal.

The battle over the soccer field has become an important civics lesson for 8-year-old Micah Robinson who plays there. He insisted his mother take him to see the attorneys face off in court.

VIDEO: Hearing on restraining order filed by Santa Clara youth soccer league

"I just love soccer, and I've played it such a long time. I just want to keep this field, and I've played on it for a long time," Micah said.

However, there was no hearing. Superior Court Judge Joseph Huber turned down a motion for a temporary restraining order. That would have stopped the city of Santa Clara from turning over the keys to the field that sits feet away from Levi's Stadium, site of Super Bowl 50. The field is to be used for security, media and production.

The judge will hold a full-dress hearing next Wednesday for a preliminary injunction.

"The one thing that judges want is time to think about a case, especially when there are very big consequences to it," soccer league attorney Gautam Dutta said.

"The city made hard commitments to the NFL in March of 2013, and the NFL has relied on those commitments, so now at this point, it's the city's obligation to make good on those commitments," Santa Clara city attorney Ren Nosky said.

The judge says he hopes the NFL won't do anything with the field until next week's hearing. An NFL spokesman told us, "The fields... will be covered by Teraplast plastic fabrication to avoid any direct load on the surface. There is no digging or paving on the playing fields."

Young players say alternate fields just aren't good enough.

"The rest of the fields in Santa Clara aren't as adequate, and they're unsafe. The soccer field provides us with a safe field," 16-year-old Irina Quibelan said.

The NFL and San Francisco 49ers have promised to replace the grass fields.

Fight over Santa Clara fields pits NFL against youth soccer league

Get the latest on Super Bowl 50 here