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Re: “The Blair Park Project

I was too brief on some of my points below, and I would like to expand on one, the hazard of soccer balls plummeting onto Moraga Avenue. We have a local example of a soccer field built high above a roadway, Bishop O’Dowd at 98th Avenue. From my experience, you could average three balls going over the 8 or 9 foot fence every game. I never heard of an accident on 98th, but the field had a buffer of about 20 to 25 yards of sloping earth from the fence to the street and a secondary fence at the bottom of the slope. But, given the site constraints, Blair Park does not have the luxury of such a buffer. Further the O’Dowd field was surrounded by an oval track for high school track and field events, which would serve to keep more balls in.

It is true that some of the younger teams will not physically be able to put a ball over a tall fence, but U-13 and up teams could easily put a ball over the fence and I’m guessing 3 a game, either though misplaying a long pass down the north side of the field, a defensive clearance towards the north, or a misplayed header anywhere along the north side, etc.. And with the edge of the field so close to Moraga Avenue, those balls will likely end up in the street after plummeting 50 feet.

It is possible that even more than three balls per game would fly over the fence, as the O’Dowd field was surrounded by an oval track for high school track and field events, which would serve to keep more balls in. The Blair field will not have a track surrounding the field.

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Posted by retired ref on 06/28/2011 at 4:05 PM

Re: “The Blair Park Project

Having been involved in youth soccer for many years, I see some issues that have been ignored. Official FIFA guidelines indicate fields should be oriented north/south to keep the sun out of players eyes, yet this field is oriented east/west. Youth soccer guidelines, including the local Jack London league, prohibit spectators behind the goal, yet this field places all spectators behind the west goal, which will be very distracting to young goalies. Further, since not all spectators behave at youth sports, placing both teams fans in close proximity will likely lead to the kind of excitement that Piedmont is not generally known for. It is hard to tell the dimensions around the field, but it appears possible that there are safety compromises for the players, as players need room to run off the field when momentum carries them off and this room appears lacking. The tall fence around the field is there to keep balls in, but it won't keep them all in. Who will be responsible when a driver on Moraga is startled by a soccer ball plummeting 50 feet and has an accident.

The parking seems inadequate or marginal for four teams, i.e., the two playing and the two waiting their turn. But unfortunately, youth soccer is not the Swiss rail system and games run long and start late and by the middle of the day, there are often 6 teams at a site, two finishing and having post game activities, two playing and two warming up. Unless there is parking for 6 teams, you will have lot of dangerous parking on Moraga.

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Posted by retired ref on 06/25/2011 at 4:13 PM

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