Monday, March 27, 2017

USA Soccer Fans - World Cup Qualifier USA vs. Honduras at San Jose

It was a dream night for the USA soccer fans in San Jose at the World Cup Qualifier against Honduras.  After a disastrous start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, the USMNT had to go all out and claim three points.
 The fans were all decked out at the pre-game American Outlaws tailgate.
 But the rain dampened some of the early celebrations.
 The fans marched into the stadium ready to support the USA.
 And there was some good natured heckling between the fans of USA and Honduras.
 After the national anthem...
 ...The USA fans were ready to bang their drums...
 ...and sing and cheer. It was easy too when your team scores two goals in the opening 35 minutes while playing some exciting soccer.
 And it was punctuated by a spectacular individual effort by Clint Dempsey for the third goal of the half.
There really were not any words to describe in words the feeling of a USA soccer fan up 3-0 in a must win game better than this picture does. So I won't even try.
 In the second half, the rain continued to come down.
 But the USA fans kept on drumming and supporting the national team.
And after three quick goals to start the second half salted away the result...

...the Honduras fans found themselves with little to cheer for.
 It even turned into a bit of a snooze fest for some of the American fans.
 But in the end, the fans held their pride up high.
And stood united supporting the national team as they continue their road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Candlestick seats fill SF’s Kezar Stadium, thanks to San Francisco Deltas


San Francisco is reclaiming some of its professional football history thanks to the city’s new professional soccer team.

More than 3,800 Candlestick Park seats from the former home of the San Francisco 49ers are being installed during the next two weeks at the team’s original SF home, Kezar Stadium. They’ll join the Candlestick seats already installed at Kezar during stadium improvements in 2014 and 2015.

The seats were acquired by the San Francisco Deltas, which won approval earlier this year to play its home games at Kezar Stadium from the SF Rec and Parks Department. The pro soccer team will start its inaugural season with a friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes in February.
The new seating is part of $1 million in improvements the team agreed to make to use Kezar Stadium.
Although the seats ended up costing being double the estimate, Deltas CEO Brian AndrĂ©s Helmick felt it was the right choice. “We have to make decisions as fans,” he said. “We are fans first.”

To read the rest of the story and see a video click on my SFGate Story.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Soccer Struggles to find its footing in the Philippines

During a February UFL (United Football League) Cup match, Global FC battled against Nomads at Rizal Memorial Stadium in the heart of Manila. The game, a competitive and entertaining affair, was also a case study of how difficult it has been to grow pro soccer in the Philippines.
Global, one of the best-funded and most successful professional teams in the country, was battling against Nomads, a 102-year-old semi-professional team. Despite perfect conditions for the game, only a few hundred spectators sat in the 12,000-seat stadium. Nomads held Global to only a first half goal but succumbed down the stretch, losing 4-0.

I watched the game in the stands with Bob Guerrero, a soccer journalist, and football supporter (Twitter account @PassionateFanPH) in the Philippines. He has observed firsthand the birthing pains from growing soccer in the country.
“It has struggled,” lamented Guerrero. “There are some fans, there is a niche support, but it hasn’t received wide mass support.”

Thursday, June 23, 2016

General Santos Fish Port Market in Mindanao Philippines

On my recent trip to the Philippines, it was fascinating to photograph the fish port in General Santos, Mindanao. Some of the best quality tuna and fish from the Pacific Ocean was on sale at the harbor.
It's best to watch the fish port come alive at daybreak when it stirs to life with the latest catch delivered.

All the fishing boats dock and unload their catch. There the fish will be weighed, checked for quality, and sold to the highest bidder.

On the day I was at the port, the fishermen were bringing in tuna and marlin for sale.
For the marlin, the fishermen hacked their heads off before taking them off the boat.
Once all the fish was brought to the port, the buyers lined up to view the catch.
The buyers had a tool which they could insert into the fish and pull out a sliver of the tuna meat. From this piece, they would know the quality of the meat in the fish.  Each fish was graded by quality before the bidding began.
Several buyers would try and outbid each other for the highest quality fish.
When the bidding was over, a worker in the fish market would carry the fish to be weighed.
Weighing the fish was the job of this man.
Everywhere there was blood in the fish market, which meant all the workers and visitors had to wear white plastic boots to keep the port sanitary (and your shoes from being ruined!).

Some of the fish were so large it would take several fish market workers to carry the fish to the scales.
It was back breaking work. The biggest fish weighed that day was around 72 kilos (160 pounds).
World champion boxer Manny Pacquiao started out working in the fish markets of GenSan years ago.
The port continued to hum with activity as the sun rose higher in the sky.  Fish buyers accumulated more fish...
...while more fish were brought from the boats and sold.
The highest quality fish would be immediately wrapped in cardboard and tape and put on ice and shipped to Japan.
After the large fish sold, the fishermen would bring out the smaller fish. 
The smaller fish were for domestic consumption.
After being processed by the fisherman...
...the fish would be tagged and marked for the quality of the meat before being shipped to local stores and restaurants.

If you ever make it to Mindanao and have the chance, check out the General Santos Fish Port.  The port is open to visitors and tourists free of charge (you can rent the plastic boots from the fish port itself). It is an experience you will never forget.


Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Dipsea Race

 This year was the 106th running of the Dipsea race. It's not the first time I have shot the race, but it is one of my favorite annual assignments to cover.
 For those of you who don't know, the Dipsea is a race that starts in Mill Valley and continues over Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods and finishes in Stinson Beach.  I photographed the starting line up to the Dipsea stairs for the Marin IJ. It is the oldest trail race in America.
 Its such a festive atmosphere at the start, with many locals running the race.


 Another fun part of the contest is it has runners as young as seven years old, and some that are 79 years old.
 From downtown Mill Valley the athletes make it up Throckmorton Ave. ...

 ...and into Old Mill Park.

 After the park is where the accent begins up the Dipsea path.
 The path includes a daunting series of steps.
 The stairs are grueling for the runners.

 Climbing the first set of stairs feels like a huge accomplishment.
From there you can run on a road or take a shortcut straight up the hill.

Unfortunately that's where my coverage ended for the race. To see more check out the Marin IJ's coverage.