The club presented Snyder and the City with a special soccer
ball. Stuckey explained the ball was autographed by the Lincoln
players and was a “game used” ball.
The club leases their playfields from the city of Lincoln for $1 per
year and have done so since 2010.
The history of the club began late in 2009, when Dr. Dru Hauter, Jon
Graber, and Stuckey came to a city council meeting and asked for the
use of city-owned property behind the new Walmart Super Center.
The city got on board quickly with the idea. Details were worked
out, and soon the club was working to even the land, seed it, and
establish playing fields and parking areas.
In the spring of 2010, the club had three teams and 45 players
participating in the soccer program.
Monday evening, Stuckey offered a handout with statistics about the
club and the fields. He noted in the spring of 2010 organizers
conditioned the fields and planted grasses. They then closed the
play area until the spring of 2011 for the grasses to take root.
Stuckey gave much credit to Hauter for the initial establishment of
the play areas. He said that Hauter had almost single handedly
gotten the fields prepped and planted that first year.
Since that time, the complex has built eight soccer fields, with
room to add two more. They have established parking areas to
accommodate 500 vehicles. They continue to purchase equipment for
the fields, using profits gained from tournaments they host. They
currently have seven sets of goals along with other necessary
equipment. They have purchased a John Deere mower, and have it paid
off already. They have also built a storage shed on the property.
Stuckey’s hand-out indicated the teams use the fields two seasons of
the year, from March to May in the spring and from August to October
in the fall.
They host a ICSL League Saturday event and the annual Route 66 Fall
He commented on the shootout saying that it is continually growing.
This past fall, the shootout brought to Lincoln a total of 67 soccer
teams. With those teams came approximately 3,000 people. He said
many of these visitors stay overnight in Lincoln for the two-day
event. They spend money on hotel rooms, restaurants, gas and
convenience items, and spend time shopping between matches. He said
it was estimated that in that weekend, out of town guests spend
between $60,000 and $120,000 locally.
Stuckey said the fall tournament was so large this year; organizers
had to turn away some would-be participants. He said that the club
wants to continue to grow, and they are looking at how to do that.
Among the changes that can be made is to add more playing fields.
The downside to that though would be that they would have to cut
back somewhat on available parking.
Another answer and the most desirable one would be to add lighting
for night-time games. Stuckey said the club is looking at trying to
accomplish that. Currently, there is no electricity at the complex.
He said that the club organizers are looking at trying to get
something soon and have been looking into lights powered by
Longer term goals of the club, Stuckey said, would be to get
electricity to the location and also water and sewer. He said the
club would like to eventually have running water and bathroom
facilities. He said they are also looking to build a larger storage
shed, and bathrooms could be incorporated into the plans for that
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Stuckey also noted that he would like to see the fields used
by the Lincoln High School teams. He noted the high school uses
the football field for their practice, and that field is not the
correct size for soccer. They make due, but, if and when the
complex gets lighting for evening and night practices, the high
school teams would be able to move there for their practices.
In addition, Stuckey said the club is still working on a means
to provide other uses to the community at the complex. One
example of what the club would like to do is add walking or
fitness trails throughout the grounds. Stuckey said the club has
talked with the Logan County Outdoor Trails committee and is
hopeful the two groups can work together to accomplish this.
He also noted that some of the local hot air balloonists have
keys to the gates of the complex and use it for launches and
landings. In addition, there is a radio controlled airplane
enthusiast that uses the complex for flying his planes.
Stuckey said that he felt one of the clubs greatest keys to
success is its people. The club is managed by all volunteers
from the team coaches to the people who set up the fields and do
the mowing. He said parents are involved in the program and work
hard to make it what it is.
He also noted that the growth of the club has been tremendous.
While they began with only three teams and 45 kids in 2010, this
year they had nine teams and 122 players.
He commented on the coaches saying that it has been the goal of
the club to find people who would be a positive influence on the
kids. He said that coaches are hand selected based on the type
of person they are, and then they are taught soccer.
After his presentation, the aldermen starting with Jonie Tibbs
offered up a few comments. Tibbs said she recalled the night
that Hauter, Graber, and Stuckey came to the council with the
idea. She said that she wished everything that came before the
council could work out as well as this project has. She called
it “pure gold for the city and the kids in our community.”
Stuckey laughed and said that first night when they had made
their presentation to the council, the three men walked out the
door and said, “What if they say yes! We’re going to have to
build this thing!”
The city did say yes, the club did build it, and in the opinion
of Mayor Keith Snyder and many of the aldermen, it is one of the
best moves they have made to enhance this community and help
Present with Stuckey during the presentation was a number of the
younger kids who participate in the program. Snyder told the
kids that the city had provided them with their soccer space for
a mere $1 per year. He shared that the city had previously had
the acreage as farm land that they made money on, but that the
council had seen the importance of the complex and voted to give
the land to the club.
Comments had also been made earlier in the evening by incoming
Alderman Todd Mourning that the complex has been noted to be one
of the finest in this region. Stuckey later said that the
complex and the program will continue to grow because of the
outstanding fields, the dedicated volunteers, and the commitment
of the city to support this valuable program.