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Manteca cracks down on illegal soccer parking
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Future soccer tournaments at Woodward Park could require the hosting organizations to hire an off-duty Manteca Police officer to write parking tickets in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Manteca City Council added that option — at the staff’s discretion —when they approved agreements on Tuesday night for the use of city facilities by the Manteca Area Soccer League and the Manteca Futbol Club. The provision is aimed at tournaments where the entire park is utilized — including the storm retention basin — for tournament games.

The council action prompted by firsthand observation by Councilman Richard Silverman comes on the heels of a tournament this weekend that attracted more than 1,000 people to the park.

During a seven hour stretch, Manteca Police officers responded to 20 complaints from residents about parking and issued more than 20 citations.

“We could easily have spent 10 hours there and issued five to six times (the number) of citations,” Police Chief Nick Obligacion told the council.

The three officers that responded though, had to handle other pressing calls that kept pulling them away from the neighborhoods around the park.

Most parking violations were for parking in front of fire hydrants, blocking driveways, blocking crosswalk areas or parking illegal on corners.

The most egregious of them all, though were soccer parents/spectators who pulled into the driveway of a home with a for sale sign in front assuming the house was vacant. Not only was the owner still living there but when she went to leave she discovered two cars parked in her driveway preventing her from doing so. The vehicles were eventually towed allowing the homeowner to leave in her car.

Councilman Mike Morowit suggested the organizations might want to enlist volunteers to walk the neighborhoods as people are arriving for the soccer tournaments to advise them where it is illegal to park.

It was also suggested that the groups organize shuttle services from area parking lots such as at Woodward School and the Orchard Valley complex where the city legally holds control over the parking lots under a 35-year lease agreement.