While the departure of the A’s from Oakland has left many fans feeling disillusioned and abandoned, it’s important to remember that there is still a sports team that calls Oakland their home. One such team is the Oakland Roots, a soccer team currently in the USL Championship. Chabot College student Chris Ruiz expressed his admiration for the Oakland Roots,” I love the culture they built around the team and with us (the fans). I also love the fact that they prioritize helping the city of Oakland to grow and reach its fullest potential.”
On Apr. 20, an announcement was made that the Oakland A’s had signed a binding agreement to build a new stadium in Las Vegas. This would be the third team in the last five years to leave the city of Oakland following the departure of the Raiders and the Warriors. Oakland is filled with many passionate fans who now feel abandoned by their favorite teams.
Chabot College student Kevin Medina expressed his frustration regarding the A’s leaving, “It truly sucks, I grew up going to A’s and Raiders games and this just feels like a gut punch. It’s going to be hard to continue to support these teams.”
The Oakland Roots were founded in 2018 with a mission to bring the community together through soccer. The team is strongly committed to social justice and community engagement, and they have quickly become a beloved part of the Oakland sports scene.
Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Edreece Arghandiwal spoke about his aspirations behind creating this team from the ground up, “Our purpose behind creating this team was to try to do something different in a world of sports where we’ve seen so much of the same exist. We also want to encompass everything that is the magic of Oakland, art, history, diversity, inclusivity, and music.”
He continues, “America has become so corporate in the way they think about soccer and we like to think of ourselves as a disruptor in that. We build the way Europeans built, which is from the ground up. We are an example of starting from nothing and building it with the community and with the city that you operate in, in the name of the crest. Without that, you’re nothing. And so we hope that we can be disruptive in that way.”
Edreece’s aspirations for the Oakland Roots went beyond just creating a different kind of sports team. As a team committed to social justice and community engagement, they have partnered with various organizations to positively impact their community. From providing education on how to live a better life and be more health conscious to kids with type 2 diabetes to participating in the creation of an anti-racist curriculum and an inclusivity program for the LGBTQ+ community, the team has made giving back a fundamental part of their identity. They have even partnered with East Bay Community Energy to plant trees in deep East Oakland to create a healthier and more peaceful environment for the future.
The team also prioritizes helping soccer not only grow in Oakland but in the Bay Area as a whole. The organization envisions the team as a conduit for young talent in the Bay Area. They want to help develop this next generation and assist them to reach their fullest potential. “With a population of millions, the Bay Area is a hotbed of talent that can help elevate the sport of soccer not only in the region but globally.”
As for the team’s future, Edreece envisions the Oakland Roots becoming as big as Oakland wants them to be. The Oakland Roots is a shining example of a sports team that truly cares about the community they represent. Despite the departure of other teams, the Oakland Roots remain a bright spot in Oakland’s sports scene and a source of hope for passionate sports fans in the city.