Frewsburg Soccer Club Opens Doors At Allen Park
Ryan Deppas applies generous amounts of adhesive tape to the back of a piece of paper Friday morning, but before he carefully affixes it to a wall in the concession area of the former Allen Park Ice Rink, he asks Leslie Stone if it is positioned just right.
Confirming that the bracket for the Frewsburg Soccer Club Tournament is “perfect,” Leslie goes back to work folding T-shirts that will be distributed to the youngsters who will fill the venue through Sunday.
Hardly surprising. There are a lot of happy faces at the facility these days.
The first of 57 games is about six hours away and the handful of folks in the building preparing for the first-ever event on Jamestown’s southside can hardly contain their excitement.
You can’t really blame them.
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The Frewsburg Soccer Club signed a lease agreement with city officials in February to use the building as an indoor soccer field. The agreement is for $1 a year for four years. Since then, club officials, including a 13-member board of directors, have been working diligently to get the facility ready, including cleaning, painting and laying turf on the 85×204-foot playing surface.
“We’ve been in here for three months and we love it,” FCS president Scott Stone said, “and we’re excited for other people to come in and show if off.”
Play began Friday night with teams in the Under-10 age group. Action continues today from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with U14, U16 and U19 girls games. The U14, U16 and U19 boys will be held at the same times on Sunday. Stone anticipated 300-500 players representing 31 teams will be participating.
“We want to make this a coveted tournament in the future, so we’re trying to do everything (we can),” he said. “We’ve been to hundreds of tournaments, whether as coaches or players, and you remember everyone where you had a bad experience and you don’t go back. We’re trying to make sure that we stay on time and that everyone has a good time. … We’re super happy and excited to show it off.”
So, too, is Scott Craig, assistant technical director of New York State West Youth Soccer Association.
“The fact they managed to get this and turn it around in the shortest period of time, and getting it looking like it is is unbelievable,” Craig said. “I’m speechless with it. It’s really, really fantastic.”
But he was just getting started with his praise of the work that FSC has done so far and what can be done moving forward.
“You’ve got a diamond here,” he said. “I was impressed the first time I walked in, because I can see what it can get to.”
Once the weather improves, FSC members can move to the outdoor pitches adjacent to the building, with the knowledge that they can always return indoors should the need arise.
“It’s phenomenal,” Craig said.
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Deppas and Stone have played soccer almost since they were old enough to walk. Their passion for the sport is clearly evident now that they are coaches.
“I wished we had something like this (growing up),” Deppas said. ” … (The field) is just shy of an outdoor game, but it’s inside. I never had a facility near us. … To have something like this here where we can host a tournament in our hometown is something I never would have dreamed. It’s surreal.”
Stone noted that FSC committed to the artificial turf — the club purchased it from Northwest Arena — even before the club reached the building agreement with the city.
“We took a leap of faith,” he said.
Now, Stone believes, FSC will be reaping the blessings.
“Every day it’s something different that gets you excited,” he said.