Hoopa’s New Soccer Field Becoming a Reality

Community volunteer Rowdy Robbins (center) speaks with TCCC Director Tahsanchat Ferris-Wilson (right) about placement of trees on March 31 at the soccer field in Hoopa on Highway 96. Over 90 trees were planted by AmeriCorps’ TCCC members, community volunteers, and students from Humboldt State University’s social work master’s program. / Photo by Kay Heitkamp, Two Rivers Tribune.

TCCC and HSU Students Join Forces to Plant Trees

By Kay Heitkamp / Two Rivers Tribune


On March 31, the grassy area that will become home to a new soccer field in Hoopa just off of Highway 96 was the site of a great deal of activity as a work crew from Americorp’s Hoopa Valley TCCC led by Leslie Booth joined forces with 20 students from Humboldt State University’s Social Work Master’s Program in a massive tree-planting event. Volunteers made use of an abundance of wheel barrows, shovels, and all sorts of gardening tools.

The event was coordinated by HSU student, Rebecca Maynard, who gave credit to her classmates, their teacher, Jamie Kerr, and HSU Professor Michael Yellow Bird, who, along with Tahsanchat Ferris-Wilson at TCCC, helped plan and organize the event.

According to Maynard, the emphasis of the Master’s Program is Indigenous peoples and the focus is on building relationships with rural, tribal communities.

“This gives us as students a chance to see how we can bridge the gap between what we study and learn about and then be able to go out and work in the community,” said Maynard. “To be meaningful, you have to process the information you learn. It has to go out of your head and into your heart.”

Asked how the idea for planting trees at the soccer field came about, Maynard said that the students decided to plan a project that would give them an opportunity to make connections, get involved, and begin developing relationships with an organization in Hoopa.


Rebecca Maynard, student in Humboldt State University’s master’s program in social work, coordinated the planting of 90 trees by 20 students and a work crew from TCCC around the edges of Hoopa’s new soccer field. / Photo by Kay Heitkamp, Two Rivers Tribune.

“We wanted to get involved, but didn’t know how to make it happen,” said Maynard, who has two young sons in the Mad River Soccer League. Last season, she came out for their games in Hoopa and struck up a conversation over chili with a woman at the concession stand.

Maynard read an article in the Two Rivers Tribune and learned about the need for donations to help Hoopa’s youth soccer teams. The article included Tahsanchat’s phone number at TCCC. The two talked over the phone and realized they had met at the concession stand.

As the saying goes, a light bulb went off. It was decided that the best way for the HSU group to get involved locally would be through a joint interest in soccer between communities on the coast and here in Hoopa.

“You can really feel the family and team spirit here,” Maynard said. “The community has been very welcoming.”

On March 31, an Americorps TCCC work crew and 20 members of a Master's Program at HSU joined together to plan 90 Monterey pine trees around the edges of what will be Hoopa's new soccer field. / Photo by Kay Heitkamp, Two Rivers Tribune.

Zachary Stevens from Arcata grew and donated the 90 Monterey pines that were planted around the perimeter of the field. The trees will provide shade and act as a windbreak as they mature. The field itself will need to be amended and prepared for planting. Donations of soil additives, grass seed, and lumber for benches will be needed to finish the project.

Therese Duke, also a student, is a master gardener and served as a consultant during the planting process. Taking a look around the rocky field and surrounding areas, she commented, “People living in Chicago would pay good money for those rocks.”

Asked if there are other projects lined up to make the soccer field become a reality, Maynard said this was a preliminary group outing to help determine what’s needed and get members from both communities involved.

“I don’t think people on the coast realize how beautiful it is out here and how great everyone is – the kids, the parents, and the coaches,” said Maynard. “I think people will want to get involved and help, but they just don’t know how.”

“The joy of watching the children play is what will unify our communities,” said Maynard.

First tree in the ground. This HSU student was part of a class of 20 and a TCCC work crew who planted 90 trees on March 31 at Hoopa's new soccer field. / Photo by Kay Heitkamp, Two Rivers Tribune.


3 to “Hoopa’s New Soccer Field Becoming a Reality”

  1. Mimi Kelley says:

    Rebecca – I am so proud of you for taking such a huge interest in the Indigenous people in your new home! I believe that we all need to take more interest & learn from the Native People from whom the real “illegal immigrants” (Europeans) have taken so much! My tribe, Ft. Yuma Quechan, is fortunate that we have been able to establish a casino to supplement the lack of funds needed for housing, health care, elder care & furthering education among tribal members. Keep up the good work, Rebecca & give my love to David & the boys. Love & miss you, Mimi

  2. Michael Yellow Bird says:

    Beautiful work! Congratulations to Rebecca M. and all of the Master of Social Work students Humboldt State University for your excellent community building work. Congratulations to Americorp’s Hoopa Valley TCCC and Leslie Booth. Exceptional. Exceptional. Congratulations to all community volunteers too.

    Professor Yellow Bird

  3. Rebecca Maynard-Villasenor says:

    WOW! Tahsanchat, the TCCC, and the Hoopa Community are my inspiration. I am happy to report that after a major back injury (mine) that caused HSU’s involvement to “backslide” for a semester, a successful surgery has the soccer “ball rolling” again. We (HSU’s social work students) are on board and waiting for orders from our amazing leaders. Also, I am very sad that I didn’t get to watch my son’s soccer games on the new field (or in McKinleyville) this season due to my operation. Nevertheless, interest in Hoopa soccer and the success of the field, the players, and community have gained momentum as I have been rehabbing and we are excited to see what kinds of projects the TCCC have in store for us. Thank you so much for providing such a beautiful gift; a glorious day of picking up rocks, sweating like dogs, planting trees, and eating spaghetti! Did I mention that we loved every minute of it?
    I am hopeful that the Mad River Youth Soccer League and other HSU programs (the athletic department, forestry, and why not the math department?) will recognize the beauty in supporting Hoopa’s soccer scene and join the social work department and the TCCC in promoting, maintaining, raising awareness, and funds in order to sustain this fantastic field.
    I look forward to my next visit as they are always filled with wonderful memories. Please feel free to write me with any ideas or suggestions that you have. Good, bad, or ugly, when those boys and girls are smiling ear to ear as they run with the ball wind blowing back their hair with sweaty rosy cheeks, all is well in the world at that moment.
    Again, thank you for all that you do Tahsanchat, TCCC, Vi, Two Feathers Tribune, and Hoopa Soccr Stars,

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