By CHRIS MORRIS - Tribune Managing Editor
Twenty years from now, Scott Klink would like to be driving down Hwy. 111 and see youth soccer being played in a facility built just for the sport. That has been his dream for the past decade. His dream is slowly becoming a reality.
Klink is president of Southern Indiana United, which incorporates both competitive and recreational soccer leagues in Floyd County, and has been looking forward to the day when youth soccer has a permanent home. With Cannon Acres, which sits near the intersection of Hwy. 111 and Budd Road already in the city's possession, that day may be less than two years away. Luckett & Farley architectural firm has already drawn plans for the facility, which includes up to four regulation fields. The cost, according to NA-FC Parks Department Director Bill Koehler, is $3.3 million.
"This is going to be huge," Klink said of the soccer complex. "This is a culmination of a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. Twenty years from now I want to look back at this complex and know that I helped make it happen. It will be very gratifying."
Final costs and plans have been presented to the Parks Board. Now the public will once again be allowed an opportunity to voice their opinion in a series of meetings. The complex will likely be funded through a combination of grants, bonds and gifts. Klink hopes to be playing soccer at Cannon Acres by the fall of 2006.
"I think that is reasonable," he said. "But we don't want to rush this. We have waited 30 years for this and we want to do it right."
Klink said there are roughly 600 kids who play in the recreational side of Southern Indiana United and another 250 who play competitive soccer. Both divisions have fall and spring leagues.
The Parks Department recently received final approval from the state following an archeological study at the Cannon Acres' site. In fact, the complex will take up less than half of the 29 acres. The other part will be used for hiking trails, parking and a shelter house.
Dave Smith, who is the Providence girls' soccer coach and who runs the Net Surfers competitive girls' club league, is also excited about having a complex in the area. "We really don't have a home now. We just play where we can," he said. "We are really excited about playing at Cannon Acres. I think it will help our league a lot."
The two youth soccer leagues play in parks throughout Floyd and Clark counties. Many times Smith said he has to rent fields in Clark County for games. Both Klink and Smith said having a soccer facility in Floyd County will also help jump start adult leagues. "We don't have adult leagues in Southern Indiana. I would like to see an outdoor men's league," Klink said.
The two also said the fields would have a huge economic impact on the area. During a competitive soccer tourney, teams from all over the Midwest attend. The out-of-town families have to stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants. "It will give the area an economic boost. There is no doubt about that," Klink said.
While the complex might be limited for future growth, Klink said it's a great shot in the arm for soccer in the area. He said it's about time soccer had a home in Floyd County. "I know how long we have waited to get this," Klink said. "I can't wait to get it done."
New field will help Floyd County embrace soccer