Soccer club alive, kicking after field changes hands

BELPRE – The Belpre Soccer Club will be able to play on its fields this fall and is looking at the future.

An anonymous individual has stepped forward and purchased the property along Washington Boulevard in Belpre and is allowing the soccer club to continue to use the fields to play soccer, said Tim Vaughan, president of the league.

“The fields are changing hands,” he said. “They have agreed to sell the property and allow us to play our fall season.”

Organizers said the individual is a relative of someone who has been a part of the Belpre Soccer Club and played soccer on the field.

The understanding is that the league will be able to continue to play on the fields for the foreseeable future, Vaughan said.

“We haven’t worked out all of the logistics on it yet,” he said.

The purchase price has not been announced.

Earlier this summer, the property’s original owners said they were interested in selling the property with the Belpre Soccer Club being given the option of purchasing the property.

The club originally set the goal of raising $115,000 to purchase it. Fundraisers were being organized and money was started to be collected.

Vaughan said those fundraising initiatives are continuing with the hope the club would eventually be able to purchase the fields from the new owner.

A golf scramble is planned at Oxbow Golf Course, outside of Belpre, on Aug. 31 to raise money for the purchase of the fields.

The idea is to plan beyond the immediate future so the Belpre Soccer Club will have somewhere to play for many years to come.

“We want to make it sustainable for the next 50 years and beyond,” Vaughan said. “We want to make sure there will be no question on what our future will be.”

According to its www.gofundme.com profile, the Belpre Soccer Club is a volunteer-based organization consisting of more than 420 children and 42 coaches that has been established for over 15 years. It has a board consisting of 13 members that meet each month to keep the fields in good shape.

The players’ ages range from 4-17 years old, organizers said.

“We are really excited that we will have our fall season now,” Vaughan said. “We will be able to stay on the fields. It is a great feeling. We are having open registration now.”

The Belpre Soccer Club is holding a two-night registration event at the fields. People can sign up from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 11 and Aug. 14 behind Wendy’s.

Forms are available on the Belpre Soccer Club’s website with information on how to submit them.

Vaughan said work has begun to get the fields ready to go for the start of the fall season.

“We are ahead of the game,” Vaughan said.

Registration runs until Aug. 21 with opening day scheduled for Sept. 6.

Being involved in soccer has taught local youth the value of teamwork, Vaughan said. Shy kids have learned more about expressing themselves as part of a team and others have excelled there as well, he said.

“It really means the world to them,” he said. “They can make friends.

“It is a good place to be and a good place for them to stay out of trouble.”