Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
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Rooted in Oakland: ‘Deeper than my own story’

Professional soccer player DeVante DuBose connects with community and coaches with creativity
Still image from Oakland Root SC’s release video of DeVante DuBose (second from left) sitting with young supporters. Courtesy of Oakland Roots.

In an empty parking lot, DeVante DuBose stands, stoic, as a white car drifts around him. The classic Port of Oakland skyline — shipping crates and container cranes — looms behind him. Kendrick Lamar crackles in the background as if heard through a car radio.

DuBose said this scene from his release video stemmed from Oakland Roots’ co-founder Edreece Arghandiwal letting DuBose run with his creative vision.

The video celebrated DuBose as the first-ever player signed for new professional soccer team the Oakland Roots as the team kicked off the “Oakland First” branding mindset of the franchise.

DuBose approached a friend who does sideshows for the filming of that clip and also spent time walking around easily-recognizable spots such as Jack London Square and downtown Oakland.

“That whole day [was] organic — people I met in the streets, in my community. And this, it was so real.” DuBose said.

“I knew I was in a moment — I was getting goosebumps.”

DeVante DuBose (Photo by Michelle Snider)

The Oakland Roots may be new in town, but thanks to a roster and staff stacked with local talent, the soccer team is plugged into its base.

DuBose, raised in Oakland, grew up playing for local club Bay Oaks, now East Bay United, and Bishop O’Dowd High School. Bay Oaks was DuBose’s first competitive club soccer league experience that he says also provided him with an opportunity to express himself.

Growing up as the son of Doug DuBose, former San Francisco 49er and Super Bowl champion, DuBose said his first inclination was toward football.

“As a young male, you know, growing up here [in Oakland], it was something that was always on my mind,” he said.

But after his freshman year at Bishop O’Dowd, he realized he wanted to separate himself from football in order to focus on soccer.

“I tried to get somebody else to turn in my helmet for me because I didn’t want to look at my coach’s face,” he said.

DuBose said he felt most challenged by the technical and mental aspects of soccer. “I just never liked to be outworked and never did. I still don’t now,” he said.

DuBose used that attitude to fight his way through playing division one soccer at Virginia Tech. Halfway through his freshman year, he secured his spot on the team and began starting games. Then something happened.

“I hit a wall,” DuBose said. “I hit a mental wall.” He felt something was off and began to lose weight. His coach noticed and sent him to the sports psychologist.

DuBose eventually ended up in San Leandro’s John George Psychiatric Hospital for 72 hours. He said that at the time, he didn’t understand what had happened to get him there.

“I just never liked to be outworked and never did. I still don’t now.”

“I got better quickly, you know, brushed it away,” he said.

Instead of processing and dealing with his experience, DuBose threw his energy into pursuing his goal.

“I was still very much identified, and identified myself as just an athlete and then striving to be a professional athlete,” DuBose said.

He said he’s since reflected on how intense focus on sports can come at the cost of growth in other areas.

“Athletes put themselves in these environments,” he said. “You got your foot on the gas all the way down. This is a perfectionist type of profession.”

According to DuBose, his hard work was validated when he was drafted number 66 overall by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2014.

DuBose said he had not been invited to the Major League Soccer (MLS) Player Combine, a showcase that gives professional teams a chance to evaluate prospects, so he had gone home and was surprised by the appearance of his name.

DeVante DuBose (Photo by Michelle Snider)

“Next thing you know, I see a video of me on the draft list, and I’m like ‘Oh snap! This is crazy,’” he said with a laugh.

After playing with the Earthquakes in the preseason, DuBose was moved down to the under-23 team and eventually cut.

DuBose said he connects the creativity in his life across the board, from soccer to music, or even emotions.

“Today we call it mental health, but for me, I call it emotional intelligence.”

DuBose said he has “hit a wall” twice more since his first stay in the psychiatric hospital.

He majored in human development at Virginia Tech, which he said he switched from a business major in order to explore his curiosity about psychology and mental health, especially in adolescents. He founded his own organization, First Touch Soccer and Fitness, where he can put his experiences and knowledge into coaching, training and mentoring.

“It became much bigger than just playing,” DuBose said. “I wanted to see the future of soccer for underrepresented kids, you know, African-American kids.”

DuBose said he sees himself staying with the Roots as they connect and intertwine the organization with the community.

“In my childhood dream, all I saw was MLS,” he said. “But now I just see it’s so much bigger.”

“That’s going to go way deeper than my own story.”

The Oakland Roots play their last home game Saturday, October 19, with a 7 p.m. kick-off at Laney College Stadium. See their website for more details.

About the Contributor
Isis Piccillo
Isis Piccillo, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Isis Piccillo was born and raised in the Bay Area. An avid reader and lover of libraries, Piccillo knows reading has been key to developing their writing voice. They are invested in covering and amplifying the voices of marginalized and underrepresented groups, especially in the areas of health and science. When not frantically copyediting or furiously writing, Isis can be found on the soccer field, or with food.
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