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New soccer complex proposed

September 27, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

A planned private soccer field complex north of Hagerstown could kick off a new era for area youth and bring more tourists into Washington County.

The Hagerstown Soccer Club plans to purchase 21 acres of the Miller Asparagus Farm on Md. 58 about a mile north of Interstate 81 for use as five or six soccer fields, according to President Rudolph Krumpe.

Krumpe said the club has reached an agreement with the owner of the property but said the deal hinges in part on getting state approval for a road entrance onto Md. 58.

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"Right now we're just trying to get through all the hurdles," he said.

If the deal comes together soon, kids could play on new fields next fall.

The new fields would start to alleviate the scheduling crunch that has developed as soccer and other youth sports have grown in popularity.

"We desperately need more fields," said Bruce Weneck, YMCA middle school division coordinator for girls soccer and Hagerstown Area Youth Soccer League senior division coordinator.

Weneck said soccer, especially girls soccer, has grown tremendously in recent years without any new fields being added.

Weneck said teams sometimes have to travel outside the county for games because there aren't enough fields available here.

Krumpe said about 5,000 to 6,000 youths and adults play soccer in the county.

"Every year it seems like you are hunting for places to play and practice," he said.

Krumpe said he's heard for years about plans for new soccer fields without any getting built, and said it's time to take action.

Krumpe said the land itself would cost between $100,000 and $150,000. The land is extremely flat and won't need grading before it's seeded with grass.

The additional fields will allow the club to expand the Mason-Dixon Cup Youth Soccer Tournament, which brings more than 100 teams a year to Washington County in June. Krumpe said he's had to turn teams down and has limited advertising because there aren't enough fields to accommodate a larger tournament.

He said the tournament fills up at least 600 to 800 hotel room nights each year, bringing thousands of tourist dollars to the county. He figures the tournament could reach 250 to 300 teams if enough fields were available.

Krumpe said the number of Maryland Cup games in the county might increase if the new complex becomes a reality.

Krumpe said private donations, club membership fees and $3,000 from the Washington County Gaming Commission would pay for the fields.

The proposed complex is not related to a possible sports complex that could include up to 12 soccer fields and a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns, also on Md. 58.

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