Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

August 17, 2004 > Soccer: Alive and Kicking!

Soccer: Alive and Kicking!

by Karthik Raman

Soccer is back in town. A couple weeks ago, I got a call from my coach, Rob Kavanagh, telling me that I was on his soccer team. I was excited because the soccer season had finally started. I got ready to buy cleats, shin-guards, and a soccer ball. Soon the words "Kick the ball! Pass it! Dribble!" will fill the air. These words are often shouted out by excited parents on the sidelines rather than the coach. Soccer has become a game enjoyed by the whole family. It is also a game that has been played since the ancient times by many countries. Historically the games were variations of modern soccer.

Between 1700 B.C. and 300 A.D., games similar to soccer were played by Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Toltecs, Native Americans, Persians, Central Americans, Scottish, Vikings, and Assyrians. Some Native Americans played a game called pasuckquakkohowog, meaning "they gather to play ball with foot" while the Eskimos played a similar game called aqsaqtuk. This game was played on ice. Some, like the Romans, used soccer as a preparation for war.

The original game of soccer played in England was called "Rugby" and was pretty violent. There were no real rules and the use of hands was permitted so players hurt other players. From this game which permitted carrying the ball, a group of "dribblers" who liked dribbling the ball rather than carrying it separated and began playing "football". In 1857, these "dribblers" started many football clubs in Sheffield, England and by 1867, a Football Association was formed. This association created rules for "football" - one of which banned the use of hands while playing. This made the game less violent and the modern game of soccer evolved from it. "Football" became very popular in England and spread throughout the British Empire. The first World Soccer League was formed in 1888.

Soccer was introduced in the United States in the mid 1800s and in 1862, the Oneida Soccer club was formed in Boston. This was the first soccer club to be formed outside England. Soccer however did not become widespread nationwide until 1959 when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognized it as an official college sport. Soccer became even more popular with the formation of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1967. After this, youth soccer began in the 1970's. During this time, the greatest soccer player in the world, Pele, from the New York Cosmos, earned the respect of fans for himself and for the sport.

The Women's National Soccer Team started in 1985 and in 1991, the first women's World Cup was hosted in China. However, professional outdoor soccer in the United States declined in 1985 and nearly ended. Many of the professional outdoor soccer stars started playing indoors. It was not until 1988 that outdoor soccer revived with the formation of a new American Soccer League. The years following 1996 through the present are called the new Golden Era of American soccer. In 1985, at the time of the decline of outdoor soccer, youth soccer gained in popularity. Professional outdoor soccer players started taking part in youth soccer as coaches and interested parents, making it even stronger. This strength and popularity of youth soccer is present today.

Soccer in the Tri-City area is a very popular youth sport. There is a youth soccer league in each of the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City. In Fremont the soccer league is called F.C. Fremont, in Newark, the Newark Soccer Club and in Union City, Union City Youth Soccer League.

F.C. Fremont has five levels of play: Instructional League, House League (Division IV which is not very competitive). Traveling House League (Division III which is middle level of competition for ages U10 through U19), Select (Division I which is competitive), Premier League (State Playing League which represents the highest level of competition for youth at the U16 through U19 age levels) and the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Registration for F.C. Fremont starts in March and end in May. FC Fremont consists of 230 teams with 3600 players from 5 to 18 years of age. Games are played from September through November.

In Newark's sign-ups started on March 4th and ends on August 26th. Here there are four levels of play within youth soccer, divided into Class I, II, III and IV. Al Caffodio (Class I is a competitive level and they play against teams in District III; Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Fremont). They travel to tournaments beginning in August and play in State Cup competition in the spring. The second level is Traveling House (Class III). The Third level is Advanced House, (also Class III) and the fourth level is the House League (Class IV which is non-competitive). Levels of play in Union City is very similar to the levels in Newark.

The games in all three cities start in September so come and cheer the teams on!

For more information, contact the leagues:

FC Fremont, 4557 Eggers Drive, 510-494-9833 FAX: 510-494-9823, email -, the office will be open on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Newark Soccer Club Office, 37053 Cherry Street, Suite 205. NSC office is open 7:00pm - 9:00 p.m. every Thursday through October 2004 for the handling of club business

Union City Youth Soccer League, P.O. Box 546, Union City, CA 94587. Phone: (510) 487-9338 EMail:

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