Imagine you’re surrounded by beautiful water and a cool breeze, watching boats and paddleboards cruising by. Then picture your children playing soccer around all of that. Hawaii? Nope, a different island off the coast of Oakland called Alameda. Soccer in Alameda is unlike most places for children who play one of the most popular sports in the world. Most of the soccer fields in Alameda are on the West End, which give you views of San Francisco or Oakland… or at one field in particular—access to some of the best donuts on the island. If you enjoy watching cargo ships dock and then unload, reload, and then immediately turn around while watching your kids play, there is also a field a block away from that on the now defunct Naval base.
When kids first begin their recreational soccer experience, they play at a field called Rittler, which is two blocks away from the best beach in Alameda. The breeze from the Bay shoots down Grand to Rittler, and on a hot day you are very thankful for this breeze, but on a cold day, you are cursing it. Like Hawaii, Alameda is considered the main island and then there is Bay Farm, which is part of the City of Alameda but requires crossing a bridge to get to. You can enjoy driving through some of the newer communities as you head to Bay Farm’s Tillman Field.
And if your child is too young to play rec, or if you are looking for help improving their skills, or you’re an adult looking to join an adult league—Bladium is the place for you. Bladium is a gym and indoor soccer space for people of all ages, and offers an indoor experience for kids between the ages of 18 months to 7 years old. They also have leagues for adults of any age, to enjoy some friendly competition and a night out with peers.
Alameda has everything you need to start or continue your soccer experience, while also enjoying a little piece of heaven within the hustle and bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area. I highly recommend it! —Melanie Anderson