Oakland Roots Sign Mexican-Born, Oakland-Raised Attacker, Julio Cervantes

Trabajando mis raíces a muy temprana edad

Con sacrificios y sudor mi jardín fue creciendo más y más

Las raíces me conectaron a mi patria de donde vienen mis papás

Me enseñaron a ser fuerte para que yo pudiera triunfar

(English Translation)

Working my roots at a very young age

With sacrifices and sweat my garden kept growing more and more

My roots connected me to my homeland where my parents come from

They taught me how to be strong so that I could succeed

Conocer Sus Raíces

Know Your Roots

Oakland, Calif. (Mar 18, 2019) – The Oakland Roots have signed Fremont High School graduate and former University of the Pacific attacker Julio Cervantes.

Cervantes, 25, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Oakland. His dual heritage and upbringing is a familiar story in the Bay Area. His parents migrated from Mexico in 1994 - his father came first, then he and his mother followed. Like so many coming to the United States, his parents came in search of a better life for him than they had themselves. His journey was never easy - his neighborhood was featured in the documentary Gang Wars: Oakland - but Cervantes persevered, and will proudly represent his community on the field.

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“Oakland means everything to me. My childhood was about more than just soccer; I learned how to plant and grow my own fruits and vegetables, to understand street smarts, respect, education, and most importantly how to be myself,” Cervantes said. “To sign with the Roots means I’m living not only my dream, but other kid’s dreams. It feels like I climbed Mount Everest. The feeling is just unbelievable. I’m soaking it all in and at times it still feels unreal because as a kid I always had the vision of a pro soccer team in Oakland. To be a part of it now, it’s truly a blessing.”

“I've known Julio since he was 17 years old, and have been able to track his progress over the years as he's moved up the ranks locally,” said Club President Benno Nagel. “Watching him make the move from Merritt Junior College to help establish University of Pacific into one of the top D1 soccer programs on the West Coast brought a lot of pride and positive emotion for me, just in understanding everything he's overcome to get to that place. To have been a young person growing up in Oakland who maybe didn't have everything readily available to him and who probably had every reason to go in a different direction, just speaks volumes to who Julio is and what he's been able to accomplish. Having him in our club provides a living and breathing example to young soccer players in Oakland that there can be a pathway forward in life, through soccer."

Julio got his start playing soccer on Cesar Chavez soccer field in the heart of Oakland’s Fruitvale district. He was part of Oakland-based youth soccer club Bay Oaks and went on to play college soccer for one year at Merritt Community College in Oakland. His hard work paid off with a spot on the University of the Pacific team, where he played three years of NCAA Division I soccer and became the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Cervantes is currently a middle school physical education teacher for Urban Promise Academy, the same school he attended as a kid. He also works as a gardener for a non-profit called Oakland Leaf, to teach students the importance of growing their own food and eating healthy.

Cervantes will wear the No. 27 in the Roots’ inaugural year. The No. 27 represents 27th Ave., the street where Julio grew up in Oakland.

Name: Julio Cervantes

Position: Forward/Winger

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 165 lbs.

Date of Birth: October 7, 1993

Hometown: Oakland, Calif.

About Oakland Roots

More than just a club, more than just a game. Oakland Roots Sports Club seeks to harness the magic of Oakland and the beautiful game of soccer as a force for social good. Whether on the pitch, in the stands or within the community, Oakland Roots will represent our one-of-a-kind city with passion, pride, and commitment to all things Oakland. Player by player. Supporter by supporter. Resident by resident. One day at a time. One game at a time. This is about Oakland first, always.