Paulding Soccer Club announced plans for five new soccer fields and expanded parking at Lela McGuire Jeffery Park in Paulding. Fundraising has started for the $150,000 goal.
Paulding Soccer Club announced plans for five new soccer fields and expanded parking at Lela McGuire Jeffery Park in Paulding. Fundraising has started for the $150,000 goal.
By JUDY WELLS

Feature Writer

PAULDING – “Soccer is the fastest growing sport in Paulding County.”

Those were the words of Jeremy Dasher, board member of the Paulding Soccer Club. “That’s why we want to build new fields where the youth of the county can play. Right now they’re playing at three different locations in town, depending on their ages. It makes it inconvenient for parents if they have more than one child in soccer.”

Dasher is referring to the new five-field soccer complex unveiled for the Lela McGuire Jeffery Park, located on County Road 142 in Paulding. At last Monday’s Paulding Village Council meeting, council approved the idea and encouraged the club to move forward with planning and fundraising.

If all goes as planned, the construction should start later this spring and the fields should be ready for use by the fall of 2020.

Phase I of the project would include building two regulation-size fields shaped for proper play and a solid playing field. The three youth-size fields would be appropriately sized for each age group, providing a challenging yet achievable goal.

All the fields would have the appropriate drainage, allowing the fields to dry quickly and smoothly.

The new soccer complex would also make possible a longer season of operation for the entire park, with baseball during the spring and summer months and soccer during the fall.

Down the road, a walking path around the entire complex and other amenities may be added.

In addition to the playing fields, Phase I of the proposed complex would include extending the current driveway farther to the south to provide access to the newly constructed soccer fields. An additional 200-space parking lot would also be added to benefit both the Paulding Ball Association and the Paulding Soccer Club. A sidewalk from the new parking area would be added for access to the soccer fields as well.

Phase II would involve constructing a sports complex for an additional concession stand and extra storage for equipment.

The cost for Phase I is anticipated to be around $150,000. A soft fund-raising effort has begun, with several donations of materials and labor already promised.

“And we already have all the goal posts and nets,” Dasher said. “We just have to move them from the other locations we’re using now.”

He said the club’s board has also applied for Quality of Life funding through the Paulding County Vision Board but has not yet received a determination yet.

Currently, there are approximately 200 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade enrolled in the soccer program.

“That’s an increase in enrollment over last year,” said Traci Koenig, who is also a board member of the soccer club. “Our numbers have grown every year. But it’s rather inconvenient to have practices and games at three different locations. Depending on the ages of the students, they practice and play games at the fields at St. Paul Lutheran Church, First Christian Church or Emmanuel Baptist Church. If a parent has kids of different ages, they have to choose which field to go to and which child to watch. With the new complex, all the kids would be playing in the same location.”

To raise money for the new soccer field, a fund has been created at the Paulding County Area Foundation. Donors to the project will receive recognition by having their names permanently displayed at the fields.

“Paulding is a close-knit community that cares about their kids,” Dasher concluded. “I believe they’ll help us out and donate to this worthwhile cause.”

If you would like to make a donation, checks may be sent to the foundation at 101 E. Perry St., Paulding OH 45879. Make checks payable to the Paulding County Area Foundation with “Soccer Complex” in the memo line.

For more information on the complex, contact Dasher at 419-796-7432 or by email to registration@pauldingsoccerclub.com. You may also visit the Paulding Soccer Club on Facebook.