Councillor Darren Carpenter and Vanderhoof Youth Soccer Association's president Charlene Neufeld stand where the new Vanderhoof soccer fields will be next May.

From hardball to soccer

Vanderhoof and the Vanderhoof Youth Soccer Association are in the process of transforming the towns hardball diamonds into a soccer field

Jesse Cole

Omineca Express




Come this May sports teams will no longer need to argue over who gets to use the Nechako Valley Secondary School’s (NVSS) sports field as the town of Vanderhoof in partnership with the Vanderhoof Youth Soccer Association are turning the towns derelict hardball diamonds into a new soccer pitch.

Councillor Darren Carpenter says that the new fields, located behind McLeod Elementary, will be playable by May of next year, just in time for soccer season.

“The soccer association has about 380 people that play from the ages of five to 18,” said Carpenter. “As the years have gone by that number has grown and grown and we’ve currently had them over at the NVSS field. But as time has progressed it’s just become more of a finite resource,” Carpenter said of the NVSS fields use.

The idea to create a space specifically designed for soccer is not new, the Vanderhoof Youth Soccer Association first approached council about finding a place to use for soccer as far back as 2007.

“We’re pretty excited about it, it’s been a long time coming for the soccer association,” said Carpenter.

Initially, Riverside Park had been chosen as the place to create the fields, but the soccer association as well as council found that the public was against the idea of having organized sport designated at the park, and so they went about procuring another plot of land for the project.

Charlene Neufeld, who is the president of the Vanderhoof Youth Soccer Association, said that with the new fields in place, it will allow the soccer teams from the region to have tournaments, something that hasn’t been possible for a long time.

“A few years ago a lot of the older kids came back to play and all of the communities had a U-18 team. It’s nice because you want to keep them active,” she said.

The proposed soccer field has already been undergoing renovations throughout the summer including the removal of the hardball facilities, fencing and dug outs from the area.

So far the cost has been low, with only $20,000 allocated to the reclamation project. Of that $20,000, Carpenter believes the cost thus far has only been between $10,000 and $15,000 but the report has yet to be received.

Council has designated the area as a public resource, creating a policy to provide the facility with funding which will ensure that regardless of the outcomes of the upcoming municipal election, the area will become soccer fields.

Now until the snow flies, the field will undergo levelling and other refurbishing procedures to have it ready for next May, “at the end of the day we want to see kids active in our community,” said Carpenter.




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