Local Sunday League Organizers Meet To Confront Ongoing Violence

A Sunday League soccer match between Farmers and Brazucas ended in chaos with a post-game brawl that saw blood spilled and police involvement. As violence continues to plague the league, organizers met to find solutions to preserve the season and avoid a possible ban from the fields, which would result in the league’s demise.
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North Valley Soccer Fields. July 2,2024 Orland, California.
North Valley Soccer Fields. July 2,2024 Orland, California.
Nathan Azevedo Espindula

On Sunday, June 30, 2024, at 10 AM, Farmers took on Brazucas in a soccer game valid for the seventh round of the local Sunday league. 

The game played in Orland at the North Valley High School field, located behind Orland High School, was a contested affair that saw a 10-man Brazucas come out on top with a 3-1 victory.

Sour from defeat, many of the Farmers players decided to wait until after the game in hopes of jumping Brazucas and former Butte College men’s player, Leonardo Coelho.

As the situation played out, Leonardo was able to leave untouched, but the jumping that the Farmers players had intended for the former Butte left-back ended up happening between themselves instead. 

A big fight broke out, blood was spilled, and a nose was broken. The escalation of the situation culminated in police showing up.

This incident was the second in a row of its nature to occur at this season’s “Sunday League.”

Last week, on June 23, in a match between Los Mo and San Pancho, there was a fight of similar magnitude where a player also left with a broken bone as a result of getting punched in the face.

As a result of these barbaric fights, the organizers of the league arranged a meeting with representatives of every team, in hopes of finding a solution to the problem of violence in the Sunday League. 

For those unfamiliar with the local Sunday League, it is an adult soccer tournament that brings together over a dozen teams to compete in what some would call the peak of amateur soccer. 

Sunday league games are characterized by intense matches, where the technical ability is low but the passion is high.

 “Sunday Leagues” are played all over the world, ranging from Europe to South America. In the NorCal area, our local Sunday League is a well-established tournament that has been going on for years.

 With much lore and ongoing drama, NorCal’s Sunday League is a very special thing that brings the community together and fosters a sense of belonging for all the individuals who are a part of it. 

The greater majority of the local Sunday League players are Latino, although outliers will range from Jamaica to Albania.

Meeting with Organizers of Sunday League and Team Representatives at North Valley High School. July 2,2024 Orland, California.

The meeting to address the ongoing Sunday League violence occurred on Tuesday, July 2, at 8:00 PM at the same field as the fight occurred. 

With the possibility of the city banning the usage of the fields for future Sunday league games due to the related violence, the fate of the league rested upon the meeting.

The importance of the North Valley fields to the league cannot be undermined. The two fields located behind Orland High School are where most games of the league take place.

 A loss of the right to use the fields would likely result in the end of the season and the league as a whole.

Representatives from the teams arrived at the scheduled time of 8:00 pm, and the meeting was held almost fully in Spanish due to an overwhelming majority of teams being comprised only of Latino players.

The meeting occurred at the exact spot where the fight between the Farmers players broke out. It was really shocking to see, but there were still blood stains on the floor from the fight.

North Valley High School Bench, Location of Fight. July 2,2024 Orland, California.

The goal of everything was to end this series of violent fights and save the league. Led by the league’s president, Jorge, the meeting began by discussing the severity of what happened and how one more situation like this could result in the league losing the right to use the field. 

Reasons for which fights like this occur were also discussed, and among those, a big reason brought up was the presence of alcohol, which players usually drink after and sometimes even before the game.

When addressing this during the meeting, President Jorge noted the difficulty that banning alcohol would be, as he said, “There’s no way to ensure players don’t bring alcohol.” But he did say it’s up to the teams to ensure their players aren’t bringing alcohol because incidents like this can happen. 

It was remarked that the players most involved in the fights did get a ban, and Jorge made it clear that it’s unacceptable for fights like these to ever occur again. 

Jorge said to the group, “Aggressions like these won’t be acceptable on these fields,” and it was stated that if any of the banned players stepped foot on the fields, the cops would be called.

The meeting then moved on to talking about ways to ensure things like this won’t happen again.

Brazucas representative Rodrigo Andrade brought up the idea of requesting the city for a cop who would be at North Valley while the games were happening. Rodrigo said this would “make everyone chill out.” 

Other club representatives also agreed that a cop there would be a positive thing, as law enforcement present at the games would lower drug use, alcohol consumption, and the possibility of a big fight occurring again. 

Another idea brought up by a representative was that if a player throws a punch, his team be docked points. This idea would cause teams to question if it’s worth it to have violent players as if they act out, it will cause harm to the team’s league standing.

The point docking idea was seen with really well eyes from everyone, and there is a strong possibility for the implementation of it. 

Beyond just ways to keep the peace on Sundays, the meeting also talked about how games played at 2 pm will now be played at 8 am due to the heat.

Despite all the ongoing violence, the league administration believes that it will be able to keep things under control while understanding that they are one big fight away from losing the field. 

Losing the field would be a devastating thing for the community as a whole since the Sunday league is a very important part of the Latino community in the area.

Average Sunday League games bring out over a hundred people every weekend to the field, and the games played are, for many players, the highlight of their week. 

Sunday League is a key part of the local Latino culture, and punishing a whole community because of the actions of a few would be something very sad to see. 

It’s with this in mind that the league is taking all the steps necessary to ensure no more fights occur.

Moving on from the violent last weeks, there will be no Sunday league games this Sunday due to it being the Fourth of July weekend. 

Games will occur as normal starting on July 14. 

With many players banned and provisions taken, the league hopes that violence stays off the field so that the players can stay on it.

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