Rename Bohannon Athletic Fields OMAR RODRIGUEZ ATHLETIC FIELDS
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We'd like the the HARD Board of Directors to strongly consider and vote on renaming Bohannon Athletic Fields to Omar Rodriguez Athletic Fields.
If you already know Omar you understand why and can just proceed signing below. If you do not or just want more of the story please read further.
A native of soccer-mad Uruguay, Luis 'Omar' Rodriguez moved to the Hayward Area in 1968, settling with his wife and family in San Lorenzo Village.
Almost immediately he began sharing his love of Soccer with his community, as both a youth coach and as one of the founders of the Southern Alameda County Youth Soccer League in 1973. Nearly 50 years later his impact is ever-present in the Hayward Area.
Soccer was a new sport back then and the area had very few fields. Omar met and became friends with newly elected HARD board member Dick Sheridan, also a soccer fan. With Dick's help Omar negotiated an agreement that would serve as the catalyst for the sport's meteoric growth in the area. Omar agreed to volunteer his time, knowledge and enthusiasm to identify, measure and initially line new fields if HARD would supply and install steel goalposts. The rest is history and if you or your children have ever played soccer in the area there is about a 95% chance Omar put that field there.
Beyond building fields, Omar coached youth for nearly 40 years at SACYSL and Hayward Soccer Clubs. His 'Charruas' teams are among the most successful teams to come out of the Hayward area, winning countless tournaments, and state honors. Throughout those years Omar coached and managed multiple youth and adult teams every season, and countless select teams. Roughly estimating there have been nearly 3000 community members he directly guided and mentored, not to mention the countless others indirectly affected by his work. In this day and age of paid 'professional' coaches, surely very few of them can hold a candle to this one volunteer, simply doing it to serve his community and for his sheer love of the game.
All the way back to his playing days with the Hayward United & Saprissa teams of the 1970's one location was a constant for Omar, the fields behind Kennedy Park. Until recently being forced to retire for health reasons Omar has been turning the lights on/off, bringing in loads of dirt and sand to help maintain the fields, and even bought his own tractor mower to assist in keeping the pitch at game height.
Omar has already asked his kids to distribute his ashes onto these fields when he passes. It seems only fitting that these fields also bear his name, reminding the community of this one man who has done so much.
THANK YOU for reading and signing. If you'd like please list how you know/remember Omar, years/teams you played with him and anything you'd like to share. We will be sure Omar sees the comments..
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