Published June 16, 1998
Volume 6, Number 6

It's Not the World Cup, But Hacienda Employees Enjoy "The Beautiful Game" Playing Lunch Hour Soccer

The games, played three times a week, take place at Muir Woods Park and the Pleasanton Sports Park.

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor

This month, the world's attention focuses on France, where the most popular sporting event on earth, soccer's World Cup, takes place. 

While there are no World Cup veterans working in Hacienda, there are dozens of people who get together three times a week during their lunch hours for a friendly, co-ed game of soccer. 

The games began in 1993, shortly after Nellcor Puritan Bennett moved into the park. Chuck Stuart and Scott Ragsdale sought out co-workers and Hacienda neighbors to get some kicks. 

"We started out with two-on-two and two-on-three," says Stuart. 

The number of players grew gradually, even attracting some players from outside Hacienda. Interest in soccer in the U.S. also surged after the World Cup was hosted here in 1994. Now, Stuart says, there are about 60 people who turn up from time to time, and a typical day sees about 20 players. 

"For most people, it's pretty low key," he says. "Everybody wants to go to work afterwards, so we haven't had much in the way of injuries." 

The emphasis is on having fun. "We try to discourage counting of goals," he adds. 

Despite their easygoing manner, Stuart reports that the level of play is "pretty high." 

"We have some pretty good ballplayers, but we also have some people who've learned to play by just coming to our game, and they've all improved quite a bit from the first day," he says. "There's an attempt to emphasize passing and team play rather than just individual skills." 

Just like the rest of the world, the lunch hour games have an international flavor. Players from Europe, Mexico, and the rest of the Americas join native Californians in what Brazilians have called "the beautiful game." 

Usually, the teams are picked randomly, but Stuart says they have special theme games as well. "There's kind of a tradition that we've begun where we pick some group and everybody plays against them," he says. "It used to be Nellcor Puritan Bennett against the world and we've played Europe against the rest of the world. It's not serious, just for fun, but it makes things kind of interesting to have sides."

Currently, games are held at Muir Woods Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the Pleasanton Sports Park on Wednesdays, roughly between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. 

For information on participating, contact Stuart at (925) 463-4745. 

Fans to Enjoy Soccer Clinic and "Pleasanton Night with the Clash"

The San Jose Clash, along with Pleasanton Parks and Community Services, are sponsoring two special events in July: a soccer clinic and "Pleasanton Night with the Clash," a chance to watch the Clash play the Kansas City Wizards with neighbors and co-workers. 

The Clash Clinic will take place on July 11 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Currently scheduled to appear are Clash defender and 1990 U.S. World Cup team veteran John Doyle, defender Troy Dayak, goalkeeper David Kramer, and midfielder Victor Mella. Players of all ages are invited to attend.

Saturday, July 25 is "Pleasanton Night with the Clash," a special night to honor and recognize the town, special groups, and outstanding citizens of Pleasanton. 

The Clash will play U.S. National Team star Preki Radosavljevic and the Kansas City Wizards. Preki, the 1997 Major League Soccer MVP, is perhaps best known for his dramatic goal in the recent U.S. victory over Brazil, 1-0, in the Gold Cup. 

Substantial discounts will be offered for the event. Sideline tickets, regularly $18, will be available for just $12, while $13 goal view seats will be available for $7. 

The Clash is also holding a pre-game barbecue sponsored by C.B. Hannegan's for an additional $7. 

For tickets, call Mario Tovar at the Clash, (408) 260-6374.


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