STOCKTON (CBS13) — Thieves targeted a Stockton youth soccer team, resulting in thousands of dollars in losses. This isn’t the first time the team has been hit.
Parents and coaches are calling foul after the third break-in in a year and a half.
Select FC soccer practice went on, as usual, Tuesday evening after an unusual find Monday morning. The team’s storage container was broken into and then lit on fire. Neighbors say they saw someone running away from the scene.
Parent Maria Rodriguez says this time thieves didn’t get away with anything, but they have in the past, stealing thousands of dollars worth of gear.
“They are harming the kids. Not really us, but the kids,” Rodriguez said. “We keep our training equipment, we have balls, we have soccer goals, nets.”
Some of the bigger items stolen include a canopy, benches and a grill, and now the storage container is damaged. It’s a big loss for the youth soccer program. Select FC serves 40 boys and girls from different schools, providing a much-needed after school activity.
“In order for us to not have to come out of our pocket, we do fundraising because if there’s no money to come and get the stuff they need the program is gonna end,” Rodriguez said.
And for one player, Angel Perez, life without soccer just wouldn’t be the same
“It’s like our life, like our oxygen, we breathe it, we eat it, and we do everything for it. We play every single day non-stop. We will do anything for soccer,” Perez said.
For now, the team is coming up with a game plan of how to move forward, so they are turning to the community for tips and financial support.
“If they have anything that they took, there is always a way to get it back to the people it belongs to,” Rodriguez said.
The organization, Soccerforkids is already online raising money and asking anyone with information about the crimes to submit tips to the Stockton Police Department.