In 2007, Watson Bowl was renamed for the late Umberto Abronzino, credited as being the father of soccer in Santa Clara Valley. As the San Jose Mercury News reported in his 2006 obituary, although Abronzino lived in the Willow Glen neighborhood, "[h]is home, however, was truly at Watson Bowl..."
Watson Park, built on a former San Jose city dump, was closed for several years for toxic remediation. In August 2011, the park re-opened, and the soccer bowl now contains two beautiful new fields, one grass and one artificial turf, both with lights to allow night play. The vision of making the Abronzino Bowl a recreational soccer showpiece includes (among other amenities elsewhere in the park), a soccer field house replete with restrooms, concessions, office space, storage – and a permanent exhibit wall on Umberto Abronzino and the history of recreational soccer in Silicon Valley curated by our local history museum.
Which is where the soccer community and the surrounding neighborhood step in.
"WE CAN MAKE THAT DREAM A REALITY" says local neighborhood activist and SSV/CF president Don Gagliardi.
"Our motto is 'BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH SOCCER' and what better way than to bring our community of soccer players and fans to build a beautiful field house that will benefit untold numbers of youth and recreational soccer players as well as serve as a shrine to San Jose's role as 'Soccer City U.S.A.'"
SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS UGANDA
SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS UGANDA uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing urban refugees and Ugandan nationals in the Kampala area with educational and recreational opportunities that build skills and create social harmony.
Refugees flee to Uganda from some of the world’s most violent and protracted conflict zones. In Kampala, they face severe xenophobia and struggle—socially, economically and psychologically—to heal from past trauma and rebuild their lives in exile. Working with both newly-arrived refugee youth and Ugandan nationals, SWB Uganda uses soccer to support growth and conflict resolution within the individuals and communities it serves.
On the individual level, SWB works to help urban refugee children and youth heal from traumatic past lives and feel connected to a supportive community. By creating a safe space, connecting youth with caring adults and mentors, and providing them with opportunities to play, learn, laugh and express themselves, SWB participants rebuild a sense of confidence, an ability to trust others, and the feeling of community.
On the community level, SWB builds social harmony between participants from the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and Somalia and Uganda—communities that, due to limited resources and lack of mutual understanding, often enter into conflict. Through daily soccer and life skills sessions and the act of participating on a team, young people begin to value one another as individuals, regardless of perceived cultural divides. In SWB’s programs, diversity becomes an asset, rather than a source of perpetuated conflict or community tension.