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Officials, parents, players get a kick out of soccer fields

A 27-acre soccer complex in the northern part of Berkeley county is dedicated Sunday.

A 27-acre soccer complex in the northern part of Berkeley county is dedicated Sunday.

October 07, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. - Described as a project that will create a "field of inspiration and memories" for years to come, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation formally dedicated a new soccer complex in northern Berkeley County Sunday that will roughly double the offerings of a previous facility, officials said.

Elected officials, parks and recreation officials, parents and soccer team members gathered at 1 p.m. to formally open the Dupont Soccer Complex, a 27-acre facility that offers three soccer fields but has room to expand to six, said Steve Catlett, executive director of the parks and recreation department.

The complex, located behind the E.I. Dupont De Nemours plant along U.S. 11 in Falling Waters, came together following dedicated efforts by parks and recreation members and contributions from the local community.

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"It's just a great satisfaction for our board to see these things develop," Catlett said during the ceremony.

"This is going to be a field of inspiration and memories," added state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley.

The complex will serve the county's rapidly growing soccer program, which started in the late 1980s with two teams and about 18 youth, Catlett said.

Today there are more than 30 teams involving 700 to 800 kids, Catlett said.

In 1992, Dupont donated 10 acres to Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation for three soccer fields, Catlett said, but parks officials quickly realized that facility would not be big enough.

Officials were able to create three soccer fields on the land, but they could not be regulation size, Catlett said.

Because the facility was along U.S. 11, safety concerns arose, including the safety of parents and children coming and leaving the soccer fields, Catlett said.

Then local developer Bruce Van Wyk gave parks and recreation officials a deal they couldn't refuse.

Van Wyk said if the parks and recreation gave him the 10 acres they owned, he would give them 27 acres behind the Dupont plant he owned, Catlett said.

Last summer, work started on the fields and Bob and Jody Showe, two of many people recognized for their efforts Sunday, regularly dragged a hose from a fire hydrant 300 feet away to water the fields and get grass started, Catlett said.

"They are the reason we have grass down here today," Catlett said.

The three soccer fields were already bustling with activity from soccer players Sunday, the oldest of whom were 14.

Kathy Kozlowski cheered on her son as she sat along the sidelines with other parents.

"It's something the kids deserve," Kozlowski said.

Parents parked in a five-acre gravel area that will be able to hold about 400 cars, twice as many as the former site, Catlett said.

The complex is in an area poised for recreational and educational growth.

The facility is near Potomack Intermediate School and beside 78 acres that the Berkeley County Board of Education hopes to use for a new middle school and a new high school.

"I can't tell you what the potential here is. It's unbelievable," Catlett said.

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