A dispute between the San Francisco 49ers and Santa Clara youth soccer leagues over fields next to Levi's stadium is heating up.
The 49ers are presenting a proposal to take over the popular soccer fields but some are calling it a "land grab." It is all expected to be debated at Tuesday's city council meeting.
The 49ers said they would like to eventually replace the fields with a new facility for athletic events and VIP parking. Youth soccer groups are upset, saying the plan leaves them in limbo.
Zachary Pereira coaches the Sporting Team in the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League, one of many groups that use the youth soccer complex on Tasman Drive
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Pereira said the neighborhood leagues felt the 49ers made promises when it was building Levi's stadium to protect the soccer community.
"The 49ers had an agreement, hopefully, to relocate us and find us a new place--a new facility for all of our young kids."
The 49ers said its proposal first proposed by Mayor Jamie Matthews does that. The soccer park proposal timeline mirrors the Levi's stadium 60-year lease and calls for the team to pay $15 million in pre-paid rent. The the 49ers said the money can fund a new, more comprehensive youth sports complex. The 49ers would also pay $3 million to the school district to renovate three soccer fields.
The 49ers also point out there would be time to accomplish the changes because the existing soccer complex would not be impacted for almost two years. But council member Lisa Gillmor is against it.
Although she remains a strong supporter of the stadium, she said the new soccer proposal is a "giveaway" and "takeaway" deal because there is no relocation plan for the leagues. And the land is worth much than the $18 million proposal.
"In terms of the 49ers, they have not kept their promises," Gillmor said. "And I want to make sure going forward nobody is 'hoodwinked' in the future, that promises are kept, and Santa Clarans we get what we deserve."
The soccer leagues plan to rally just before Tuesday's city council meeting.