SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – Controversy over youth soccer has grown so intense in Santa Clara that the San Francisco 49ers can’t even give away money for youth sports.
Last week, the city of Santa Clara received an unsolicited offer from the 49ers – $3 million for the improvement of youth athletic fields and facilities.
James Teixeira, Director of Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Santa Clara, said the money was in no way connected to the team’s efforts to take over youth soccer fields next to Levi’s Stadium.
“The donor notes that the donation is not related to any previous proposal,” Teixeira said.
But the Santa Clara City Council overwhelmingly rejected the offer on Tuesday night by a 6-1 vote.
Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor led the opposition and said the offer just didn’t pass the smell test. “Especially because we are having our discussion next week about the soccer park, the process and everything we told our community that we were going to do,” Gillmor said. “I feel like, this doesn’t feel right to me.”
San Francisco 49ers Director of Communications Bob Lange released a statement. “We’re very disappointed that the Santa Clara City Council voted to decline our good-faith offer of $3 million, which was intended to be nothing more than financial support to further sports opportunities for the children and families of our community. The 49ers respect our partnership with the city and remain dedicated to our neighbors.”
It was in April when the 49ers were forced to withdraw their offer to pay $15 million to lease three city-owned soccer fields near Levi’s Stadium, that the team planned to use for VIP parking and possible development, after a large group of soccer players and parents spoke out against the deal.