by Tom Simpson
Rob Bonta began playing for the San Francisco Seals when he was 14 years old.
In his first summer with the Seals, the team, then called San Francisco United Club, the non-profit parent of the Seals, played in the Helsinki, Gothia, Dana and Norway Cups. Rob was a starting player for the Seals from day one. During that trip to Europe, Rob started against Barcelona in one of the most exciting games in the 1987 Gothia Cup. The next day the Gothia newspaper devoted a full page to the game, showing the more than 3000 fans who crowded around the dirt field at Heden Field in mid-town Gothenberg. That trip began a Seals tradition of playing big when it counted big. The team went on to win14 games, losing only 4 times times. That experience kicked off Rob’s extraordinary career with the Seals and as a soccer player. He went on gain many honors, including 6 appearances with the US U20 National Team.
We knew even then that his soccer abilities, keen intelligence and leadership would continue but not be limited to soccer. A few years later Rob entered Yale University where he was an All Ivy League and All New England for two years and captained the Yale soccer team of 1993. During his tenure the team won two Ivy League Championships and went on to the NCAA playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals in 1991. Rob graduated with academic honors and was honored as Yale’s male athlete of the year in 1993. The following year he was awarded the Henry Fellowship that funded a year of graduate studies in political sciences at Oxford University in the UK. He later returned to Yale as a law student where he graduated from Yale Law in 1997. He continued to play for the Seals when he could, and played in the USISL National Championship Final of 1996 and two years later signed a professional contract with the Seals to play in the A-League.
Rob began his legal career after the 1998 Seals season. After one year as a law clerk in Connecticut, he returned to San Francisco in 2000 to join the law firm of Keker & Associates as a litigator. In 2003 he became a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Francisco, where he works today. His political career began in 2007 when he was named to the Alameda Hospital Board. In 2010 he successfully ran for the position of Councilman of Alameda and was shortly thereafter appointed as vice-Mayor of Alameda. He is now in the running for the California State Assembly.