Phoenix soccer complex closed to youth practice despite field shortage
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A shortage of soccer fields in the Phoenix area is forcing some youth teams to practice fewer times per week and at fields they would otherwise avoid, according to families whose children play in youth soccer leagues. “Honestly there’s more kids than there are fields,” said Beau Beyerle, whose three children play soccer. “If you’re asking for a field for four days a week, you might get one for two days a week,” he said.
Beyerle says some of the fields that leagues are using for practice during the week are in high-crime areas and young players share the space with homeless people and drug users. Arizona’s Family Investigates visited Phoenix’s Solano Park on a Thursday night as children were practicing on the soccer field. We saw people living in tents and sleeping on the ground out in the open, with several on the actual soccer field. We also saw condoms on the ground and evidence of drug use.
The city of Scottsdale has opened up temporary soccer fields at WestWorld, where youth leagues practice under portable lights. It is not ideal, but parents told us it provides more space and a safe place.
The city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has a soccer facility in north Phoenix, which houses 18 soccer fields. But only one of those fields is available for soccer practice during the week.
A spokesperson for the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department said nobody was available to answer our questions on-camera but provided the following statement:
“Maybe Reach 11 was built under one premise, but now there’s a need. There’s a massive need for fields. And these fields sit unused,” said Beyerle.
A spokesperson for the city of Scottsdale told Arizona’s Family Investigates that the use of the temporary soccer fields at WestWorld will continue as long as no other events are booked at the facility. In the spring, the city will open the Reata Sports Complex, which will contain five additional lighted soccer fields.
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