Family Stories

The Watanabe Family

This my daughter Emi. She a defender on the SRU 2005 Gold Team. She injured her knee playing against Diablo F.C. on Saturday.  She was disappointed that she had to miss her Sunday morning ECNL game versus San Juan and the State Cup game in the afternoon.  She cheered her teammates from the bench in a full leg brace and on crutches.  Her goal was to heal up and be ready for the Placer Tournament coming up.  Sunday night, she was discussing with her mom the carpool situation for Monday and how she was going to get around on crutches at school.  Little did she know I would be screaming at her to get out of bed around 1:00 in the morning, after we witnessed the fire come over the ridgeline miles away with incredible speed. Suddenly, the power went out. Disoriented she got out of bed, got dressed, and hobbled down stairs while her mom, sister, and I tried to gather our pets and a few things in the dark with only the light from emergency flashlights.  I remember Emi standing in the doorway saying, “Dad, I don’t have any shoes!”  I told never mind get in the car.  On my way out, I grabbed her soccer bag and a loose soccer cleat. We evacuated, as the surrounding neighborhoods burned.  Emi and her teammates and other soccer friends were texting back and forth throughout the morning, when we learned our neighbors, the Parlatos, another SRU family lost their house we knew ours was gone too.  My wife called our insurance company and they found us a hotel in Oakland that would accept us and our pets.  The four of us have been living in a hotel room since Monday, with our two retrievers and cat.    It’s Saturday, and they still won’t let us in to sort through the rubble of our home.  We are thankful to be alive, but saddened to lose our home and to know so many families affected by these unprecedented North Bay fires.  The other day Emi was lamenting about all her soccer medals and trophies.  I told her don’t worry you’ll get to earn new ones.  I can truly say SRU, the Sonoma County, and Marin County soccer communities have been so caring, supportive, and generous to all of us in need.  We thank you all for treating us like we are one big family.

Love and admiration,

The Watanabe Family