Saturday’s sellout home opener at Laney College Stadium was designed by Oakland Roots SC to be a celebration on a few levels–to mark Juneteenth and to mark the team’s first home game in USL Championship history. Instead, the game was postponed because of unplayable turf.
The game was set to be played on new turf, but due to COVID-19 and weather-related incidents, according to a Roots statement, shipping was delayed. Instead, the Roots went a backup portable system comprised of turf patches, connected to form a playable pitch. In this case, the turf system was a used turf system, going way back to NASL’s Rayo OKC and then New York Cosmos. Oakland Roots began leasing the turf back in 2019:
.@soctakes can confirm that @oaklandrootssc are using the famous/infamous turf once purchased by @RayoOKC minority owner Sean Jones.— Nipun Chopra, PhD (@NipunChopra7) July 26, 2019
Roots will lease the turf for now.
The turf was also once leased by NY Cosmos IIRC.
May this turf live forever. https://t.co/hNbgwbopWF
The history doesn’t really matter, however interesting; what matters is that the Roots had a grand coming-out party planned, complete with a sellout crowd and local rival Sacramento Republic in town. What does matter is that USL Championship officials looked at the turf and declared it to be unplayable.
As noted, the new turf should be ready for the July 10 match, which means we may see a change of venue for the scheduled June 26 home match.
The move of Oakland Roots SC from NISA to USL Championship was hailed as a major move by the league: The Roots are as much a social movement as soccer initiative, stressing inclusivity and social good.
Photo courtesy Oakland Roots SC.