The Havelock Youth Soccer Association got an approving nod from the Havelock Board of Commissioners to begin raising money for the construction of an enclosed outdoor turf soccer stadium Monday night.
"This is a very unique facility that we want to build," Bob Hardin, soccer association treasurer, told commissioners. "There will be nothing else like it east of Raleigh. This is a smaller field. It’s extremely fast-paced."
The association proposes to pay for all expenses to develop the facility that will be built where tennis courts currently exist at the Havelock Recreation Complex on Fontana Boulevard.
Recreation officials say the tennis courts get very little if any use.
The estimated cost of the stadium is between $20,000 and $25,000, with the artificial turf costing the lion’s share at about $12,000. The stadium would be 135 feet long and 80 feet wide and constructed out of high-quality concrete and cinder block, Hardin said. It would have bleachers, a concession stand and a high-tech scoreboard. It will not have a roof.
The arrangement calls for the Havelock Parks and Recreation Department to operate the facility.
Hardin said the association plans to fund the construction through sponsorships and donations. Construction won’t begin until all funding can be secured.
While commissioners supported the idea of the facility, they balked at the league’s proposal to pay 10 percent of net profits from tournaments to the city as opposed to a flat $100 per team fee charged to other leagues that use the complex.
"We just want it to be the same across the board for all teams," Commissioner Will Lewis said.
The soccer league pointed out that indoor soccer has fewer players per team, and thus would have more teams.
"I’m 100 percent in support of what you want to do, but I am also 100 percent in support of treating you like we treat everybody else," Mayor Jimmy Sanders said.
The board decided to allow acting city manager G. Wayne Cyrus to consult with the city’s attorney to craft a contract between the city and soccer league that would be satisfactory to both parties.
Commissioner George Liner said that the new facility would probably grow the organization, which is already a lynchpin of youth athletics in the Havelock area. The league is in its 30th year and has an average of 300 players each spring and fall season.
The facility would allow the league to host "indoor" soccer leagues and tournaments. Indoor soccer is considered a much faster-paced game than outdoor soccer, with the speed of the game compared to that of hockey or indoor lacrosse, with end-to-end action.
"Honestly, I’d rather watch indoor soccer than outdoor soccer. It’s a lot more exciting," said Sanders. "If you want to become a soccer fan, go look at indoor soccer. You will become a fan."