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Renovated soccer fields growing toward fall debut

<i>Phil Pfuehler photo</i> By September the Golfview Soccer Fields are expected to again be a beehive of activity. Above, the east-side fields, which now include parking.

The yearlong $250,000 project by the River Falls Wildcat Soccer Association to fix up the Golfview Soccer Fields is complete. Now the focus is turf care so soccer play can resume.

"Our players and coaches are very excited to begin playing on the new fields," says Jeff Bump, RFWSA president. "The fields have been designed with a sand base, which will maximize player performance and minimize potential for injury.

"The turf is the latest genetics, designed for high durability, low-water requirements and low-vertical growth, promoting thickness without a high-mowing demand."

Bump said the soccer field renovation includes surface and turf upgrade for eight new fields, stormwater control design, in-ground irrigation and a new parking lot for the east side fields.

Bump said local soccer play at Golfview is just two months away.

It will include the city's Fall Recreational Soccer program, Sept. 11 to Oct. 16. Fall traveling soccer, sponsored by the RFWSA, will also take place on the new fields.

With the actual renovation done, Bump said the only work left is mowing, irrigation and upkeep.

"We've mowed a half-dozen times, which is promoting the density of the grass plants," he said. "We are right on track to have a nice level of maturity in the turf for a September opening."

RFWSA is planning a grand opening celebration for late August. Details are still being worked out.

Bump said the renovation project is well timed.

"Soccer is maturing and becoming a more sophisticated game, particularly for youth in the United States," he said. "Wildcat Soccer is upgrading the program accordingly. We started with a focus on coach training and certification.

"The facility upgrade was step two, and now we move to the third piece -- next generation program leadership, focused on further upgrades to our coaching and player development."

For more information about local soccer programming, visit this website:

Registration is starting for the city's fall recreational soccer program. Kids going into kindergarten through 8th grade are eligible. Games are played Saturday mornings. The cost is $50.

Registration forms are also available at City Hall in the Parks and Recreation Department office.

Last year the City Council OK'd a 20-year-lease with RFWSA to be the primary user of the 26-acre soccer fields on both sides of the Hwy. 65 bypass. They remain open for the public to use.

The soccer field's original purpose, which continues, is to function as a detention basin for storm water runoff.