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'Field of Dreams' offers new opportunities for Stockton neighborhood kids

A new field of dreams is now open in the San Diego neighborhood of Stockton, just south of Highway 94, east of downtown.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday celebrated the major community collaboration.

The $4.3 million joint-use space includes a new synthetic turf soccer field, an asphalt track, basketball courts and a modern playground.


“Thank you to all the people who worked together to build our new playground,” said Allen Cruz, 7, who is a second-grade student at King Chavez Primary Academy. “We know it was a lot of hard work but we want you to know we really love it.”

Students at the neighborhood school will benefit most directly from the project created through a partnership of the City of San Diego and the San Diego Unified School District.

San Diego Unified’s capital projects are funded by state Propositions S, Z, and Measure YY, which are bond measures approved by local voters to repair, renovate and revitalize neighborhood schools.

“When we go and ask taxpayers, 'Are you willing to make some sacrifice in order that our young people can grow up with facilities like this,' taxpayers say, ‘Yes,’ again, and again, and again,” said Richard Barrera, School Board Trustee for District D, where the new field is located.

Students at King Chavez Primary Academy enjoy the new Stockton neighborhood joint-use soccer field, San Diego, Calif., October 4, 2022.
M.G. Perez
Students at King Chavez Primary Academy enjoy the new Stockton neighborhood joint-use soccer field, San Diego, Calif., Oct. 4, 2022.

The joint-use field is open when the school is not. It’s available to the community as a local park after school hours and on the weekends.


“It's giving a lot of kids the opportunity to get outside. They can play the sport and get together,” said JoAnn Cruz, who lives in the neighborhood with her son, Allen.

San Diego’s professional men’s soccer team, the Loyal, is also involved in supporting students at King Chavez Academy. Recently, the team provided a few hundred water bottles to the school.

Shannon MacMillan is vice president of community relations for the Loyal.

“It’s about growing the game. It’s about growing access to the game. At the San Diego Loyal we’re very focused on the community and not only how we can give back but help them grow and learn and have dreams,” MacMillan said.

The child care industry has long been in crisis, and COVID-19 only made things worse. Now affordable, quality care is even more challenging to find, and staff are not paid enough to stay in the field. This series spotlights people each struggling with their own childcare issues, and the providers struggling to get by.