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Kent Youth Soccer Association Opens New Fields at Petrovitsky Park
Washington Youth Soccer joins forces with state, community leaders to triple the number of turf fields in Kent
When the small crowd assembled at Kent’s Petrovitsky Park on June 9 looked out past the ceremonial ribbon waiting to be cut, they saw two brand-new FieldTurf soccer fields.
Kent Youth Soccer Association president Wayne Jensen saw the last 48 months of his life.
It was in 2008 when Jensen, standing on the sidelines at KYSA games, heard parents noting the poor conditions of the dirt fields on which KYSA teams were frequently forced to practice and play. Indeed, there was at the time just one turf field in the Kent city limits available to the Association, and even that had to be shared with local parks programs and school districts.
KYSA president Wayne Jensen (center) chats with State Senator Joe Fain (at left) following the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the all-new field complex.
“It was pretty much just ‘beg, borrow and steal,’” Jensen says of the Association’s efforts to find better fields for its teams to use. “Schools, Starfire, neighboring districts, parks … you name it. We were doing anything we could to find good fields to play on.”
On that day in 2008 — 48 months ago — Jensen resolved to do whatever it took to procure new fields for KYSA.
“I was raised that rather than sit around and complain about something, you should do something about it,” he says.
So he did — first meeting with city parks representatives to identify possible locations, then connecting with local business leaders and city and state politicians to drum up financial and political support for the project. The local school districts teamed up with Jensen and KYSA as potential beneficiaries of the new fields, and FieldTurf was brought on board to replace the ragged, dirt fields at Petrovitsky Park with two state-of-the-art, World Cup-sized turf surfaces.
Three years into his efforts, though, Jensen was still about a quarter-million dollars short of the funding needed to build the fields. That’s when he learned about Washington Youth Soccer’s program to provide loan money to finance capital projects.
“I was in a Board meeting, and I sad, ‘Well, we could use something like that,’’ Jensen recalls. “We put in a formal request, which was approved, with a low interest rate. That was last summer, and field construction began in the fall.”
Finally, on June 9, Jensen and dozens of others gathered at the park to celebrate the fields’ opening. Among the assembled crowd were several of the individuals who had helped Jensen navigate the process of obtaining property and building the fields, including State Representatives Bob Hasegawa and Joe Fain, Washington Youth Soccer CEO Terry Fisher and many others.
Sounders FC star Roger Levesque joined players, parents, staff and coaches from Kent Youth Soccer Association to celebrate the fields’ grand opening.
Also present was Seattle Sounders FC star Roger Levesque. A product of US Youth Soccer, Levesque signed autographs and took pictures, and emphasized to Jensen just how important fields like those at Petrovitsky can be for youth development.
“He’d said he’d never seen anything like it,” Jensen says. “That was pretty neat.”
The fields’ impact has already been felt — Jensen says that the turnout at KYSA’s Kent United tryouts in June broke records, while rec and mod players used to training on difficult dirt fields have been able to better build their skills on the pristine new turf surfaces.
Even more encouraging, though, is the impact on local schoolchildren and area residents.
“There’s a school across the street, and one day right after we had taken the construction fence down — before the fields were even officially open — we were down there having a meeting when school let out,” Jensen recalls. “We saw all these kids look at the fields as they went by and realize, ‘Hey, the fields are open!’ They came right over and pulled out soccer balls and started playing.”
Between use by KYSA and neighboring Clubs and Associations, city parks, local residents and area schools — which will have the option to host high-school practices and games on the fields in the spring and fall seasons — Jensen says the new fields will be used nearly 365 days a year.
“The facility wasn’t being used from November through March at all, and now will be used seven nights a week year-round,” he says. “That’s going to have a big impact on that area. Real estate values will go up, the retail areas nearby will see an uptick in sales. The impact will be overwhelming.”
To see more photos of the new fields and the grand opening celebration, visit the KYSA Facebook page at Facebook.com/KYSA.
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