For the first time in its 14-year history, JSerra Catholic High School will play football home games on campus this fall.
The City Council approved the school’s request on Tuesday, June 20 to host five Friday night home games using temporary bleachers and facilities supporting up to 1,500 attendees. The approval is for the 2017-18 season only.
A crowd of JSerra students and supporters broke into applause as the City Council took its vote.
The Saddleback College field, where JSerra normally plays, is unavailable as a new stadium is in the works, officials said. JSerra has secured agreements to use neighboring Kaiser Permanente and Saddleback Valley Christian School parking to supplement the campus’s own parking.
The council voted 4-0, with Pam Patterson not participating because she has close family ties to the school, to approve the arrangement for games Sept. 1 against Alemany, Sept. 8 vs. Bishop Amat, Sept. 22 vs. Los Alamitos (homecoming), Oct. 27 vs. Santa Margarita and Nov. 3 vs. St. John Bosco.
After each game, city officials will meet with school officials and nearby residents to review how it went and try to minimize impacts on neighbors. The City Council heard complaints from neighbors about noise, soccer balls knocked into yards and impacts from youth leagues that JSerra permits to be played on existing fields bordering homes.
City Manager Ben Siegel said the city, which operates leagues at JSerra, will be happy to work on the issues raised. He said the city doesn’t have enough field space to meet needs and JSerra has been “a valued partner” helping to meet needs, and been very responsive when asked.
School officials said they look forward to building a new relationship with neighbors.
“It is very important to the school that this goes right,” project manager Michael Recupero told the City Council.