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Groups plan to boost soccer fields

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With soccer registrations right around the corner, some Charleswood and Tuxedo-based community centres and soccer organizations are working to add new fields and improve existing ones.


The Charleswood Youth Soccer Association plans on turning an old baseball diamond at the Varsity View Community Centre’s Laxdal Road location into new mini soccer fields.


"Fields are always an issue. The one we’re developing now will certainly help, but we could always use more fields," said association president Ian Holland.


The association is looking to build three-quarter-sized fields to be used for house leagues and the associations youth program for nine to 12 year olds.


Soccer registration in Charleswood has dwindled from about 1,100 in the early 2000s to about 725 last year. Holland hopes registrations will increase to more than 800 this year.


"The demographics in Charleswood are certainly dropping but it goes in cycles," he said, noting the association has added a program for four-year olds this year.


"We’re still competing with hockey. Basketball is moving up and flag football is growing in popularity.


"It’ll be more numbers for us get us in that 800 range."


Colleen Nelson, president of the Tuxedo Community Centre, said the club is hoping to see a drainage system installed at its fields early next month.


Low lying areas have turned parts of the field into swamps, she said. Last year, about 50% of games had to be rescheduled or cancelled.


"It’s stressful for volunteers who coach and manage the teams. It’s also, honestly, most upsetting to the children," she said, noting the field is used by more than 400 children each spring and is also frequently used by the community.


The Assiniboia community committee recently approved a $21,000 grant to help pay for the nearly $50,000 upgrade. The centre had one funding application denied by the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres, and is hoping to secure a Manitoba community places grant.


The centre recently held a winter carnival to help pay for the costs.


Nelson said the process of trying to secure funding has been illuminating. Although the city recently announced more funding for community centre improvements, there are still grey areas, she said.


"We’re still hitting this roadblock where nobody wants to be responsible (to pay) for it," she said. "For an almost $50,000 project, it’s a huge hit for the community centre to pay for something like this."


The improvements would have to be delayed until the fall or next year if funding isn’t secured, Nelson said.

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matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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