The commitment of Oakland Roots to its local community grew deeper today with the announcement of the clubs initial members to comprise the first ever Roots Community Advisory Board (CAB).  The CAB will serve among many things, as an active body of guidance for Oakland Roots, advising on matters relating to how the club can best utilize soccer as a force for social good in Oakland through partnership and in conjunction with the local community.  “Words can’t express our joy in both the creation of this community board as well as with the amazing and inspiring people who will be joining it” said Club President and Director of Soccer, Benno Nagel.  “This is a group of people who have an amazing history of community service within Oakland and who embody the type of involvement that we will be looking to have in social impact through sport, here in Oakland.”

These first 6 CAB members will form the starting point of what will eventually be a 12 member panel, and which will meet monthly to discuss with the Roots Front Office and ownership on all things Oakland.  “Soccer has a long standing reference to the 12thMan, which is a nod to the club supporters who’s passion and active support provide an extra player on the field for the team during matches,” said Nagel, “We’ve gone with 12 members on the board to pay homage to that, as well as to ensure that we can bring into the mix a group of people with a broad scope of backgrounds and involvement within Oakland.”  

Beyond the scope of this initial board, Oakland Roots will be forming specific community committees/task forces, which will involve Roots CAB members, to facilitate a deeper understanding and reach on special projects addressing areas such as youth and human development, homelessness, food insecurity, violent crime and social enterprise, among others.  Additional details will follow as well as future announcements on the remaining 6 community members to join to board.  

Each member is listed below, with a brief bio listed at to more formally introduce this board and its membership to our club supporters. 

“Know Your Roots”

  • Founding Oakland Roots Community Advisory Board members:

  • Jorge Leon, Oakland sports fan, Green Stampede (past President)

  • Joanne C. Da Luz, Board member and Co-founder, My Yute Soccer

  • Baba Afolabi, Community leader, Founder SuRu (Oakland based apparel brand)

  • Alex Ibarra, Soccer Player*, Member of American Outlaws Oakland, *current U9 player with Montclair Soccer Club

  • Carina Ibarra, Oakland teacher and soccer coach, Coliseum College Prep Academy

  • Rovel S. Sparkes, President and Founder, My Yute Soccer

  • Kyle Brooks, Co-Pastor, Tapestry Church (Oakland)

  • Fernando Delgado, Founder and Soccer Director, Futbol Base (Oakland)

Jorge Leon, Oakland sports fan, Green Stampede (past President) 

Jorge Leon is an Oakland native and currently serves on the board for the Green Stampede, an East Oakland non-profit organization that provides tutoring and mentorship for under privileged youth. The program works with the help of the Oakland A’s baseball club, and partners with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Jorge Leon has been with the program for over 10 years, and served as the President of the organization from 2012-2017. During that time period, Jorge had a minor role as an unofficial community liaison for the former Madam Mayor Quan and the Oakland A’s. Jorge’s full time work is in the Environmental Consulting industry for a private firm in the City of Oakland. 

Jorge Leon aspires to bridge the Oakland community and the soccer community to create a unique game day experience. He hopes with his knowledge and experience dealing with high profile professional athletes he can also connect the fans and the players alike while always having the people of Oakland in mind. Jorge Leon’s motto has always been and will continue to be “For our city, for our team, FOREVER”

Joanne C. Da Luz, Board member and Co-founder, My Yute Soccer 

Joanne C. Da Luz, Board Member & Co-Founder, is an MBA graduate of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College, recipient of the Goldman Sachs Initiative for Women Scholarship Award and the Career Development Award from the American Association of University Women.

Joanne's experience with youth stems from a career as high school math teacher and Academic Director of 17 years. Utilizing her Master's degree in Education from Stanford University, Joanne oversees MYS educational programming.  As Board Member and Co-Founder of My Yute Soccer, she directs strategic partnering, marketing and fundraising, supports collaboration with stakeholders and business groups to promote My Yute Soccer as a social enterprise within the Oakland community. She is also an NCAA Women’s Soccer Champion and has coached and trained youth in the sport. Although now retired from playing, she enjoys watching the beautiful game with family and friends.

Baba Afolabi,Community leader, Founder SuRu (Oakland based brand)

Baba is an experienced soccer player and an enthusiastic fan of the Beautiful game. He played 2yrs NCAA for California State University, Hayward where he completed his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice. Baba furthered his graduate education at JFK University where he completed a MBA degree in Business Leadership & Strategy. He is currently VP of BAAFC (an African soccer team based in Oakland which has been around for almost 20yrs). He is responsible for the organization’s leadership and the steering committee. He is a community liaison and has a wealth of knowledge in building businesses from ground up and launching new products. 

He is the founder of Oakland based apparel brand, SuRu, a brand with the mission of promoting multiculturalism and diversity, and a food delivery platform, Chop Plentii, with a mission to make African food more accessible to everyone. Over the last 10yrs, he has dedicated himself to entrepreneurship while helping to mentor other young entrepreneurs through his downtown located flagship store, a location that has been a base for many local artists to showcase their artwork and music talent. Baba is a passionate, experienced business and product development strategist who is motivated to help build organizations that invest in community, business and technology to achieve sustainability and economic growth. 

Outside of his professional goals Baba is a casual golfer and avid runner who has completed a few half marathons in the Bay Area with the goal set to complete the NYC marathon later this year, 2018. He was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and migrated to Oakland in the late 90s. He has lived in Oakland since and has worked all across Bay Area cities.

Alex Ibarra, Soccer Player*, Member of American Outlaws Oakland, *current U9 player with Montclair Soccer Club

Alexander Ibarra loves soccer. While he enjoys waking up early on Saturday mornings and catching some Premier League or Bundesliga games, his real passion is supporting his local club teams. He is a passionate fan of the San Jose Earthquakes and the Stanford men and women soccer teams. If he isn't watching soccer, he's probably practicing with his Montclair Soccer Club U9 team. He is so excited to have a team to “Root” for in Oakland

Carina Ibarra, Oakland teacher and soccer coach, Coliseum College Prep Academy 

Carina Ibarra is Alex's mother and soccer buddy. If she isn't chauffeuring him around she is probably at Coliseum College Prep Academy where she teaches 6th and 7th grade English. Carina has played soccer her entire life and loves sharing her passion for the game with her son.

Rovel S. Sparkes, President and Founder, My Yute Soccer 

Rovel S. Sparkes, President & Founder, My Yute Soccer launched his organization recalling fond memories of soccer in his neighborhood growing up–and seeing My Yute Soccer not only as an opportunity to share his skills and talents as a player but also as a vehicle for building community.

As reported by Jill Repogle in her 2010 article, One Man Works to Create Unity on the Field, it was Sparkes beautiful childhood that inspired him to create My Yute Soccer Camp. On a long flight back to California after watching the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he decided to do it. He went to his fellow players at the Africari Soccer Club, and asked them to help him set up a free soccer camp for East Bay youth. He quickly got a group behind the idea and they began raising money, through t-shirt and hat sales. The first soccer camp took place in summer 2008 and MYS became a 501(c)3 charitable organization in November 2008.

Sparkes also spearheaded and continues to grow and manage the yearly Jamaican Jerk Cook Off Benefit Fundraiser for MYS.  He directs the coaching team and the overall camp, and continues to be a tireless MYS evangelist in the local and international community, inspiring inspiration and partnerships. Most recently, in June 2018, Mr. Sparkes was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Barbara Lee for "dedication and contributions to Caribbean-American heritage and culture." Sparkes also continues to play soccer in the East Bay Senior Soccer league for Africari.

Kyle Brooks, Co-Pastor, Tapestry Church (Oakland)

Kyle Brooks is a resident of the Fruitvale district of Oakland, and one of the founding pastors of a new church called Tapestry Church. Tapestry is a multiethnic, multi-economic, multigenerational merger between a black and white congregation in Oakland, which has been featured on KTVU News, the SF Chronicle, and NPR. Kyle's focus is on bringing people together to create flourishing communities where everyone's voice is heard and included, whether that's through activism and advocacy, relieving immediate needs or community development. He grew up playing club soccer, and after a brief career in college, started volunteer coaching in his free time, which he has done in some capacity for the last 12 years. For the last 3 years, he has been a volunteer coach with Soccer Without Borders, a free program serving refugees, asylees, and unaccompanied minors in Oakland and across the United States. He could not be more excited for a professional soccer team to arise from Oakland with a vision for impacting the people here.

Fernando Delgado, Founder and Soccer Director, Futbol Base (Oakland)

Fernando Delgado was born in the multi-ethnic city of Torreon in Mexico. His college education consists of studies under a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics (BSA) and a Minor in Aviation Business obtained from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) while serving overseas in the United States Navy in Atsugi, Japan. 

He began playing soccer in Mexico at the age of 7 and began coaching youth soccer in 2009 while living in Oakland. He is the Founder & Soccer Director of Futbol Base. Futbol Base is a recreational youth soccer program located in the diverse city of Oakland, California. The main objective of our program is to introduce soccer to families living in communities that have not yet been served by existing clubs and leagues. His coaching philosophy focuses on a player development philosophy. He has worked as a youth soccer director at the Bladium in Alameda and continues to feed players into East Bay United Soccer Club Bay Oaks. He is well known by the Hispanic soccer community in Oakland and currently runs recreational youth soccer practices in Oakland Chinatown. 

He is passionate  about soccer and making  sure that  all  of our  student/athletes receive  the adequate  attention  to thrive  as athletes. But, before they  can be  successful  as athletes  they  must be  successful  students that  are  embracing and thriving  in  their educational  experience. 

He shares the same vision on helping create a community-based club in Oakland that best represents his diverse, big-hearted city that will be known as much for giving back to the community as it is for winning. A franchise that will represent Oakland’s culture and vibe, as well as reflect the city’s history of inclusion, & social progress.