He giggles and bounces ecstacally on his feet. In all, he discovers, the Bears have won thirty-twochampionships in the city league’s 73-year history. No other school has more than ten.
Mission won its rst city championship in 1939, and at that me, the white guy on top of the tro
phy would have t right in.The neighborhood was mostly composed of recent Irish and Italian immigrants in the rst half of the 20th century, but many Mission residents le in the 1950s aer the G.I. bill gave World WarII veterans an opportunity to move away from low-income areas. “White ight le a void thatpeople of color could ll,” says longme Mission-based community organizer Eric Quezada, point
ing to the inux of Mexican immigrants who moved into the neighborhood.
That community grew over the next several decades, and as turmoil gripped much of Central and
South America, new naonalies began popping up in the Mission. In recent years, young whiteshave ooded the western part of the neighborhood (the area closest to Mission High School),giving the neighborhood a disnct duality. On one block, you’ll walk past vegan restaurants andcoee shops, on the next, you enter a world of taquerias and tabernas.The Mission’s streets are lined on one side with murals that boast of the Lano community’s longhistory of polical acvism and on the other side with bouque shops that mark the district’s sta
tus as one of America’s hippest neighborhoods. But the Bears roster reects the fact that, despitethe Mission’s demographic dynamism, this is sll an immigrant-dominated community.Nearly all of the players on the team were born either outside the U.S. or are the children of par
ents born outside the U.S. About half the team is of Mexican heritage, and many others are Guate
malan or Salvadoran. There are no Anglos on the squad. Except the coach.
Sco Kennedy sits in silence on his folded-out lawn chair, watching the ritual he designed play outbefore his eyes. In parallel lines, Kennedy’s players jog back and forth across the eld, varying form
and pace to prepare their muscles for the match. He’s nervous.
The jiers that began today, when he awoke in his suburban Marin County home, are reachinga crescendo. It’s minutes before kicko. They will win, he believes. They will win and it won’t be
close. Five to one, maybe. Three goals for Jose Mendoza, the senior striker who hasn’t fully
realized his potenal—at least not unl this, the nal game of his high school career. Maybe aheaded-in score for Diego Tamayo, the junior midelder with the body of a linebacker and the
temper of a street-brawler. And several spectacular saves from Jose Guevara, of course.Guevara is the best goalkeeper in the city, a junior who has started since he was a freshman, thekid with the talent to play D-1 ball, the brain to aim for Stanford or Berkeley, and the leadership
skills to become only the second non-senior Kennedy has ever named captain.