Rodeo grounds not an option for playing outdoor soccer


School fields could potentially be used for this year’s outdoor soccer program.
Grasslands Soccer Assoc. (GSA) president Jason Saunders made the announcement at last Monday’s AGM held at the JBS Canada Centre.
The association used school fields for games in the past prior to moving to the old Kinsmen Rodeo Grounds.
GSA had sponsors on board last year to re-do the fields at the rodeo grounds but for whatever reason, the deadline was missed, he said.
Fields at the rodeo grounds will not be in good enough condition to use for this outdoor season.
“I think we can all agree that they were in pretty rough shape come the end of that outdoor season.”
Saunders said the City of Brooks has a joint use agreement with Grasslands Public Schools and GSA would like to do the partnership with the city.
He said Russ Tanner, manager of recreation and facilities services has said the city is on board to commit with whatever way GSA goes after the AGM.
Tanner, in a phone interview on Friday, said Grasslands could spend whatever money they wanted to at the rodeo grounds knowing use was year to year.
He said the city has no intention of putting tax payers money into developing the old rodeo grounds as athletic fields.
Tanner said Grasslands soccer chose to stay there because they like parking situation and being able to leave the nets in place.
Tanner said since the city let Grasslands soccer know they would be willing to entertain letting the association go back to the schools temporarily. The long term goal would be working with the schools when the new high school is built to create new athletic fields.
Fields at Brooks Composite High and Eastbrook Elementary will be used.
He said there might be some logistical problems with Eastbrook since they will be putting in a new playground which might cut into some of the field space.
There is a lot of room at Brooks Composite High. With cooperation, the older kids could play on the BCHS field with the younger kids playing at Eastbrook.
Saunders was asked if Griffin Park would not be a better option for parking but the president replied there is more parking at Eastbrook and the high school combined.
He said parking in front of residential houses at Griffin Park was something GSA was trying to avoid in the beginning.
Regardless of what school is used, parking will be a big issue, he said.
“We are pumping 200 kids into those schools on a night. That is potentially 50-100 cars. That is why I have always pushed for the rodeo grounds. We are out of everybody’s way and we are still within walking distance,” he said.
GSA has been told the rodeo grounds are not a future option as the city does not want to spend any money upgrading the fields.
GSA has further been told the rodeo grounds are designated for possibly residential and things other than soccer fields.
Saunders said the association is still in talks with the city. They are on board with the GSA and just want children playing soccer.
“It sounds like they have some great programs in place that we can use within our program to get funding for players and go from there.”
Talks are also underway with the high school. There was a high school team last year with 29 players.
He said it looks like Medicine Hat is going to do the same thing this year and St. Joseph’s Collegiate has been invited to field a team.
Saunders would like to see the high schools play each other with the winner of the city moving on to the provincial level.
The president said he would like to see soccer teams competing at the junior high level as well.
He said participation numbers drop at the U13 age group regardless of the sport unless it is a school sport.
“If we can get the schools on board with their soccer programs, I think we can get the U13 and up numbers start to pick up again.