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Construction jeopardizes summer soccer programs

Between 200 and 300 kids might not have a place to play summer soccer this year. "We desperately need playing fields," said Michael Bagley, regional commissioner of Northern Lights Soccer Association, which learned Thursday its soccer fields will...

Between 200 and 300 kids might not have a place to play summer soccer this year.

"We desperately need playing fields," said Michael Bagley, regional commissioner of Northern Lights Soccer Association, which learned Thursday its soccer fields will be unavailable this summer.

Fields at Northwestern Middle School in Maple are closed for construction. The association has used the school fields for the last seven years to serve youth in rural Douglas and Bayfield counties.

"We fully understand construction is in progress at each school and impedes use of school fields this summer," the association's volunteer board said in a prepared statement.

That creates a dilemma. Kids are supposed to start playing in 10 days, and they don't know the fields are unavailable, Bagley said Friday.

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Northern Lights Soccer Association offers summer play for children in five age groups. Those ages 6, 8, 10, 14 and under 18 are involved in the league.

Although the group needs 14- to 16-acre fields, smaller parcels are also an option to ensure kids get a chance to play. And association volunteers need to find them as soon as possible so any changes in the association's insurance can be made before play begins, Bagley said.

"We are dedicated to provide a soccer program this summer for youth that is fun," the association stated. "Soccer is probably the largest participation sport -- in the number of kids (who) play -- of any sport in the Northwestern School District, however now, we do not have any field to play on."

Bagley said association volunteers are out scouting for fields. Anyone who has a field that they would like to make available may call him at (218) 730-9990 during the day or (715) 398-5013 evenings and weekends, or call treasurer James Walsh at (715) 374-2042 or safety director Scott Davis at (715) 374-2133.

Shelley Nelson can be reached at (715) 395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com .

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