Soccer Community Seeks Donations for Future Watson Park Field House

The South Bay soccer community has launched a campaign to raise $250,000 to build a field house next to the popular Watson Park soccer fields.

The private fundraising effort was launched by Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the San Jose Parks Foundation, Northside Neighborhood and San Jose Earthquakes all-star defender Steven Beitashour.

“We can make the dream a reality,” said Don Gagliardi, president of SSVCF. “Our motto is ‘building community through soccer,’ and what better way than to bring our community of soccer players and fans together to build a beautiful field house.”

Watson Park, which reopened after the cleanup of toxic chemicals left by a former city dump on the site, offers grass and artificial turf fields with lights to allow night play. But the city didn’t have the money to build a field house, which was part of the master plan.

The 2,500-square-foot facility would provide restrooms, concessions, office space, storage and a wall exhibit of the late Umberto Abronzino, a Soccer Hall of Famer who championed recreational soccer in the South Bay. The area known for 40 years as Watson Bowl was renamed Abronzino Bowl to honor him.

“Thanks to everyone involved in this venture,” says Linda Abronzino. “I know our dad would be very proud to see the community supporting the game he loved,” said Linda Abronzino, his daughter. “Soccer has come a long way in San Jose since 1957.”

Last month, the San Jose City Council voted to spend $14 million in money from a bond measure voters approved to build the Coleman Soccer Complex on land on the west side of San Jose Mineta International Airport.

The project, which will provide four artificial turf fields near the future Earthquakes Stadium, is expected to open . The Earthquakes will maintain and operate the complex for five years.