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The Daily Tar Heel

Cooperation to Help Build Soccer Fields

A task force composed of county staff and three independent soccer associations in Orange County presented its latest report to the Orange County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.

The task force, which has been meeting since February, gave commissioners specifics on how a new soccer field could be developed at the proposed Maple View Farm site.

Commissioner Barry Jacobs said the task force's proposal so far seems sound.

"What I think is pretty clear is that the commissioners are committed to providing soccer fields," he said.

Jacobs said the commissioners are "committed in principal" to providing half of the estimated $60,000 needed to fund the development of one new soccer field. "Unless something environmental or otherwise big comes up, I have no doubt that the commissioners will fund it," he said.

The other $30,000 needed to fund the proposed field at Maple View Farm will come from the three independent soccer organizations: the Durham-Chapel Hill Strikers, Rainbow Soccer and Triangle Futbol.

Dianne Reid, Orange County director of economic development, said the soccer organizations probably have a total of $15,000 presently in hand and will acquire the rest through fund-raising activities.

At Wednesday's meeting, the task force also presented the commissioners with a cost analysis of a $1.94 million tournament-quality soccer complex that it hopes will be built in Orange County in the future, though that plan is still in its infancy.

Vicky Brawley, director of Rainbow Soccer, said the joint effort between the commissioners and outside organizations is encouraging for future endeavors. "It represents the first time that all of the soccer factions have worked together," she said.

Jacobs said the commissioners share Brawley's optimism and are viewing this as a prototype for future cooperation with independent groups for development of facilities.

Jacobs also said he agrees with the soccer task force that the present dearth of soccer fields in the area needs attention.

George Alley, director of Triangle Futbol, said there are presently only three fields in Chapel Hill to serve the area's estimated 3,000 to 3,500 soccer players.

Jacobs said the shortage of fields and the fact that they are in high demand limits the ability of local Hispanic leagues to use them for organized or pick-up games. "One of the general goals is to make facilities more accessible," he said.

Jacobs also said extending that accessibility to a more diverse group is a concern of commissioners.

Alley said a current problem of local soccer programs is that the sport is not very accessible to low-income groups.

Brawley said all groups are in equal need of increased field space.

"Anyone who is a soccer player needs the space the most," she said.

Alley said because the local soccer organizations are asking the county to provide more facilities, it is only right that they should work together on the issue. "We want to do our share and pull our weight."

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