UPDATE, October 13, 2014: Some apologies were made. It was still awkward.
By now, you may or may not have seen the following viral video from San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood showing a confrontation between a bunch of younger (and mostly brown) soccer players being told by a bunch of older guys (and mostly white) soccer players that they have to get off the field because they paid $27 to play on it for an hour.
The original news of this video came from The Uptown Almanac on October 9, which said the following:
In what has to be the most literal analogy possible for gentrification in the Mission, a video from two weeks ago depicts a conflict over who has the right to play on the soccer field at Mission Playground (located off Valencia between 19th and 20th). In the video, a group of adults attempt to kick a bunch of young people playing a pick-up game off the field because said adults had previously paid for the time slot…
It was also reported that the older guys with Dropbox jerseys used a mobile app to secure the field. However, that was not the case, as UA reported that “tt has come to our attention that the field was not rented via the SF Pickup Soccer mobile app. Instead, the group of adults seem to have rented the field directly with the Rec & Park Department (and paid $27 to do so).”
Then there is this from SFist:
A Rec & Parks employee contacted by SFist assured us that the community had been involved in the process when decisions were being made surrounding Mission Playground’s 2012 renovation.Though the soccer field is open most of the time for anyone who wants to play, there is now reserved/permitted game play on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and after this video appeared (and after one of the guys in it called to complain) Rec & Parks began dispatching representatives to Mission Playground on those evenings in order to enforce this relatively new rule.
The rep did not specify how many complaints the department may have gotten about reservations at this field, but she suggested there had been some “relatively recent” problems like the one shown in the video with neighborhood kids not understanding the rules about Tuesdays and Thursdays. She also suggested, “Before the field was renovated it was less in demand,” and no one ever tried to reserve it.
Apparently, the tension has been around for at least two years. A 2012 story from Mission Local reports:
But some say that promises of community inclusion are honored more in words than action. A group of mainly Spanish-speaking soccer players who have assembled at the park since before its restoration can’t play there for free on Tuesday evenings when the parks department rents the field to San Francisco Pickup Soccer, an organization that charges players between $5 and $10 per person to play in a game.
Nonetheless, there are issues, as another local post explains.
And seriously, why can’t everyone just play together? Isn’t that what soccer is all about?