Soccer Incarcerated: San Jose Earthquakes Visit San Quentin State Prison

The Quakes visited California's oldest prison for pickup games with inmates.

The season of giving hasn’t ended for the San Jose Earthquakes. The staff and two players, Eric Calvillo and Paul Marie, started their new year by visiting the San Quentin State Prison to show them drills and watch them play pickup games. 

This was not a typical training session for the Earthquakes, but for the inmates of the San Quentin Soccer Association, it was a privilege to escape from their corrections facility and enjoy a little bit of freedom. 

The San Quentin’s Field of Dreams is truly a place of dreams for the inmates to be free from incarceration and to play a game that can remind them of what it’s like to be on the outside. Although they do not have the best pitch, high quality equipment or proper training, they make the best of what they have.

While the inmates were very appreciative of the Earthquakes taking time out of their day to play around, Calvillo also learned a lot from his experience. 

The midfielder expressed how enjoyable his time was at the prison, which you definitely don't hear everyday. "It was something I would never expect, it really changed my point of view on life and overall about the prisoners," he said. It seems pretty crazy to voluntarily play pickup with prisoners, but after they were introduced and started playing, there were no longer any barriers that divided the two groups. 

They proved that soccer is more than just a game, and no matter where you are, even if it’s behind bars, the beautiful game can bring everyone together. 

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