Bridge Barkada Kicks Off Free Pickup Soccer
California has slowly been returning to “normal” after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. And that includes returning to sports.
Last Saturday, as cars traveled above them on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, a community group called Bridge Barkada gathered in Chicano Park for their first pickup soccer games since the pandemic started.
“This place is just an iconic place in San Diego. It’s very central. The community is vibrant," said Paul Nathan Nacu, one of the Bridge Barkada. “So, that’s why we chose this and it just kind of falls within our motto of Bridge Barkada and just the community is so rich in culture.”
Nacu also explained their group name. “Barkada, it’s a Filipino term meaning 'community, crew, friends' type of thing and it kind of just rang, Bridge Barkada,” he said.
Nacu said the return to street soccer pickup games generated excitement. “People were here before we even started,” Nacu said.
The group provides DIY community engagement through soccer.
“This is something that’s unique," Nacu said. “We want this to kind of be the model where people can just come and play, and hopefully in the future, we’ll have soccer-specific courts and more of them out there and we’ll have more things like this in San Diego.”
Nacu also said the games give players a chance to meet others from all around San Diego. "It’s a good way to really bridge the gap, metaphorically, that we all have something in common in San Diego, and this really brings us together,” he said.
Bridge Barkada hopes to host at least monthly pickups for now, but is hoping with the help of more volunteers to return to playing every week, as they did before the pandemic.
The group plans to announce their next game date on their Twitter and Instagram pages.