A couple hundred pairs of used soccer cleats lined two cement walkways at Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club’s biannual cleat exchange on March 2, coinciding with the opening of Major League Soccer’s 24th season.
By noon, over 100 pairs of used cleats had been turned in and over 80 pairs had found new feet. A few of the 1,200 players, ages four to 18, on the club’s competitive and recreational soccer teams also took home left-over T-shirts and used soccer equipment.
The cleats were neatly organized by size so that kids could try them on for fit. Sunnyvale resident Luis Dib, a native of Brazil, brought his seven-year-old son to score a pair of cleats.
“The great thing about this, is we reuse old shoes that otherwise would go where? They can only be used for soccer,” said Dib.
“The soccer club is good for kids,” Dib continued. “The volunteer coaches are great — kind of heroes because they have real jobs and have to find time to volunteer. They do it for a love of soccer and kids.”
Sunnyvale resident Pooja Satuluri brought her five-year-old son to look for shoes to fit his fast-growing feet. It was his second season on a team.
“He’s kind of shy and interested only in soccer,” said Satuluri. She also brought her eight-year-old daughter along, hoping to interest her in soccer as well.
The non-profit Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club (SASC) is volunteer run. Parents of competitive players need to volunteer a minimum of three hours per season.
Sunnyvale soccer mom and team coach Gail Giansiracusa was the volunteer coordinator for the cleat exchange. It wasn’t strictly an exchange. SASC players could take home a pair of cleats even if they didn’t have a pair to exchange.
“Keeping shoes out of landfill is so fabulous,” said Giansiracusa. “Some are like new. Players can go out and have proper footwear.”
“I loved soccer as a kid. My husband is from Italy and plays,” shared Giansiracusa, who has two children who play with SASC.
Giansiracusa said that recreational soccer is a reasonable cost for the value. About 200 children receive financial aid to play with SASC, which began in the 1980s.
The SASC Complex at 1095 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale includes two full-sized soccer fields and three smaller ones. The space is rented from the Santa Clara Unified School District.
Soccer dad and former SASC coach Robert Bardin, who works for the San Jose Earthquakes, dropped off cleats.
Unfortunately, later in the day at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, the Earthquakes lost their MLS season-opening game against Montreal Impact, 1 to 2. The SASC cleat exchange, however, was a winner.
For SASC information, visit www.sunnyvalesoccerclub.org.