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Oakland Roots and Soul Sports Club submit proposal to enter into lease at Malibu Lot

By Staff, 04/20/23, 12:00PM EDT


Proposal receives praise from Mayor of Oakland Shen Thao, would start new chapter in rapidly growing club’s history

OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland Roots and Soul Sports Club announced on Thursday the organization had submitted an official proposal to enter into a lease agreement at the Malibu Lot adjacent to the Coliseum located in East Oakland, California.

After assessing dozens of locations throughout Oakland and adjacent communities, the Malibu Lot best meets the requirements for an interim stadium for the current USL Championship and W League clubs, including:

  • Adequate size to accommodate the stadium, fan experiences, and parking.

  • Availability to host Oakland Roots (USL Championship), Oakland Soul (USL W League) and Project 51O (USL League Two).

  • Accessible location by multiple modes of transit.

  • Potential for community impact.

  • Underlying land use designation already provides for sports as an allowable use.

  • Allows proper North/South orientation of the field.

If accepted, the proposal to the City of Oakland and Alameda County (as co-owners) would allow Oakland Roots and Soul to play their home matches at the Malibu site for up to 10 years, as well as host other events that are of interest to the community.

The plan has received the endorsement of the Mayor of Oakland, Sheng Thao.

“We are truly excited to see this level of commitment from Oakland Roots and Oakland Soul SC to The Town,” said Thao. “In just a few short years, the Roots have become a beloved institution in Oakland, and we are thrilled they will soon be joined by Oakland Soul. We look forward to matching their commitment by working together on this proposal and bringing more opportunities to Oakland and the fans.”

Oakland Roots SC supporters have provided one of the most festive atmospheres in the USL Championship since the club's arrival in the league for the 2021 season. | Photo courtesy Oakland Roots SC

Over the past five seasons, the Roots and Soul organization has made significant commitments to play in Oakland and at Laney College. Due to United States Soccer Federation and United Soccer League Professional League Standards, Laney is one of only two options within the city that meet these standards, the other being the Oakland Coliseum proper.

At Laney, to meet the official width standard, additional turf must be layered on top of Laney’s existing turf. This system has led to issues, including the inability to play games at Laney College on multiple occasions. Those continuing turf issues are a key reason for Roots and Soul’s submitted proposal for a stadium the organization can make its own.

Over the past several years, the Roots and Soul organization has expanded rapidly. To accommodate the growing demand and growth of the club, including a women’s team, Laney is no longer a viable option for future years. As much as Laney has been an incredible home for the club as it has risen in the professional ranks, with Roots SC joining the USL Championship in 2021, the club is eager to build similar experiences that will welcome more of the Oakland community to games.

Following the organization’s motto of “Oakland First, Always”, this next steps has been undertaken very seriously, with the Roots and Soul aiming to create an interim pathway while the club searches for a long-term permanent home in Oakland.

The Roots and Soul organization will continue discussions with the African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) to see how the organizations can coexist, succeed, thrive, and create a brighter future for Oakland.

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