Goal scored for local soccer players, field
Soccer lovers will soon be getting a kick out of their new field in Detroit Lakes.
"We've been working on making this happen for 10 years now," said David Carter, who spearheaded the soccer programs in Detroit Lakes.
Fundraising, volunteering and a lot of "team work" have finally led to the association's goal: a new soccer field that will be considered a first class facility.
Carter says Field 5 of the Rotary Soccer Fields behind M-State was completely ripped up for the project.
Torrential rains during original seeding had caused a lot of valleys and hills throughout the field -- a problem players have been dealing with for years.
"We tried for five years filling it in and re-seeding it, but we never really got anywhere with it," Carter said.
Now the field, which will be used mainly by the high school teams, has not only been leveled and sodded, but both the length and the width of the field has also been expanded by 15 feet on each side.
Four tall field lights have also been added for night play, as well as a cut-in for a technical area for coaches, players and officials.
The new field has a price tag of around $150,000.
"That technical area alone would have cost $10,000," said Carter, "but board members were there; soccer parents were there, and we built it all on our own, so we've been able to save a lot of money."
Carter says the school and the city have made quite a few "in-kind" donations, including a sprinkler system.
The booster club has donated new goal posts, which are ready to be set up.
Most of the sod has already been laid, with the rest being finished next week.
"When it's all said and done, we will have laid about six or seven semi-loads, holding 300-350 rolls of sod," said Luke Splonskowski, owner of HDQ Landscaping & More, "so within 30 to 45 days they'll be able to play on the field."
High school soccer starts August 15, so that could put players on another field for a couple of weeks, depending on how well the sod takes.
When the new facility is ready for game-time, Carter says they might christen the field with the players who've paid their dues the most.
"We're thinking about trying to get the first game played under lights by the graduated players because those parents have given money and worked so hard trying to make this happen," said Carter, "so I think a boys vs. girls game would be a fun inauguration of the field."
Carter says having a lighted, designated soccer field like this will not only help sharpen the players' skills and get them used to a playoff environment with lights, but will also begin paying for itself.
"This is going to help keep the cost down for the school because now the games can be played back-to-back without having to worry about running into the dark," explains Carter, "so we won't have to pay additional officials or take the kids out of school early to get the games done before dark."
Carter says being able to push the games back to a later hour will also make it possible for more parents to attend.
He says all the hard work on everyone's part will pay off for the several hundred kids in Detroit Lakes who enjoy the sport, which he says continues to grow in popularity.
"When you put them on the field, they play the game -- once you start, there's no chance for a coach to be out there telling them what to do, and I think the kids like that, and they like that they can begin playing it without very little knowledge or equipment. New players can be a part of the team after only five minutes on the field -- that's what so great about soccer."
For more information on the soccer programs, log on to the soccer association's website at www.dlysa.com.