CLEARFIELD– Clearfield Soccer Association has received two separate grants totaling $160,000 from the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to Eric Johnson, who made the grant applications for CSA. The association must raise a matching $160,000 to fund the improvement projects planned for the association’s soccer complex located at 1 Soccer Lane, off of Coal Hill Road in Hyde.
Johnson is a member of the CSA board, and project manager for the capital improvement projects.
The grants were awarded through DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation’s “Community Conservation Partnerships” Program. $60,000 was awarded in December 2013, and the $100,000 grant was awarded October 2014.
Major improvements planned include installation of electric service and connection to public sewer service, paving of the access road and of ADA parking, construction of a picnic pavilion and storage building, and expansion and improvement of playing surfaces, Johnson said.
Board President, Bob Aleksivich, said the projects will modernize the facility, noting that the complex has been using a generator for electricity and a holding tank for sewage. Plus, the dirt access road to the complex is very difficult to maintain, he added.
Per CSA statistics, 500 youth from the Clearfield/Curwensville/Bigler area play soccer at this Complex every year. Ages range from 4 years in Pee-Wee soccer to older teens.
The Association bought the ball field in 2001 and improvements began in 2002. It was first used for games in 2006. Prior to that, the CSA used the infield area at the Clearfield Driving Park track for playing fields.
The Association would not exist if not for countless hours of volunteer time. There are presently over 180 volunteers involved with the Soccer Association, investing over 7,000 hours per year to administrate the program, maintain fields, coach teams, operate concessions, provide and maintain soccer supplies and equipment, put on fund-raisers and events, and countless other jobs necessary to make the program a success.
One volunteer who had devoted more than 30 years to the Clearfield Soccer program was Dwight ‘Skip’ Koerber, who died in early June 2015. According to Johnson, Koerber was among those instrumental in getting the program started in 1982, when the association was incorporated, and continued to be actively involved as a board member, coach, referee and more. Koerber was also involved in the start of the soccer program at Clearfield High School.
“Skip was the inspiration and drive for modernizing the facility,” Aleksivich said. “He was passionate to see this project done. We will be doing it in his honor.”
Aleksivich added that Skip will be hard to replace, but there are many to carry on in the CSA who are devoted to seeing it grow and improve. He said that Skip and Lisa Soult were the funding campaign coordinators, but Alan Walker and Andy Spencer stepped up right away to work with Soult on the campaign.
Rob Swales, a coach and soccer parent with CSA, is also spearheading a Skip Koerber Memorial Golf outing, Aleksivich said.
CSA plans to raise the matching funds through general solicitation and fund-raising events, Johnson said, for the completion of the project in 2016. He added that the association holds a dinner-danced fundraising event every year, and the past two years have been designated for the matching funds campaign. This year’s event will support the matching funds campaign as well, he said, but will also be a special event to honor Koerber.
Aleksivich said the fundraising campaign will solicit support from area businesses and the community. He said the association has had colored brochures printed that will be used in mailings, but especially in personal visits to businesses.
Aleksivich noted that the association holds fundraisers through the year to supplement general operating funds in order to keep the costs low for program participants. The capital campaign will be in addition to the annual fundraisers, so they will not have to increase costs to families who participate in the soccer program.
Johnson said he has been to many soccer fields, and the CSA complex is one the best around. He added they hope to make the complex a showplace, where they can hold more soccer tournaments and events, and draw more guest soccer participants who will also spend money in the community.
For more information on the CSA program and its capital improvements fundraising progress, visit their website at: http://www.clearfieldsoccer.com. Donations may also be mailed to Clearfield Soccer Association, PO Box 886, Clearfield, PA, 16830