Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Futbol Club offers annual update to Lincoln City Council

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[December 18, 2014]  LINCOLN - Monday evening, Tim Stuckey of the Lincoln Futbol Club offered the required annual update on the activities of the club to the Lincoln City Council.

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 Shootout.

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 generators.

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 building.

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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 local kids.

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.

[Nila Smith]

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