Soccer parents take field upgrade in hand

Nick Stroman

The boys’ soccer games at Washington Community High School could have a whole new look in time for next season if the team’s parents have anything to say about it.

The parents’ grassroots fundraising effort started with a goal of new light poles for the soccer fields, but has now expanded to bench shelters and a sound system.

Denise Brinker, whose son Anthony Filante is a junior soccer player, said she was amazed by the response when she sent out the first e-mail to soccer parents about holding fundraisers.

“The ideas starting pouring in and everyone seemed to have contacts in different areas, so that really got the ball rolling,” Brinker said.

Brinker said the parents started last year by designing and selling T-shirts at the games, raising more than $300.

After that success, the parents raised money by working at concession stands at different games and had a silent raffle.

“It was just a variety of small fundraisers, but it gave us some momentum for bigger ideas we had,” Brinker said.

One of those ideas is constructing new bench shelters to help during times of inclement weather.

The project is doubling as an Eagle Scout badge for one of the players.

Brinker said Greg Butler took pictures of other school’s shelters and submitted designs and a cost estimate to the Boy Scouts council for approval.

“We went around to businesses and families and have the money raised, but are just waiting for approval from the scouts to go ahead,” Brinker said.

“We’ll hopefully have them by the end of the season,” she added.

Another parent, Hal Wiseman, is heading up the effort to give the team a working sound system.

Brinker said the games did not have much of a sound system before, so Wiseman volunteered his time to play the national anthem and announce player’s names.

As for the parents’ and team’s ultimate goal – new lights – superintendent Dr. Jim Dunnan said putting the old football lights out at the soccer fields is still up for consideration.

“We need to go through an architect and get plans drawn up to figure out the best options for us at this time,” Dunnan said.

“Hopefully, within the next couple of months, we should have an answer,” he added.

Brinker said the parent boosters would love to try to raise the money to put the old light poles up for the soccer games.

“Our opinion is if we make it so the district doesn’t have to spend the money, then there is no reason why they can’t be put up,” Brinker said.

Brinker added another plan involves a potential donor who would provide poles and wiring for the lights on the field.

Dunnan said there are many choices on the table to consider, but soccer families raising the money would be an ideal situation for the district.

“It’s the same manner in which we got the new football, track and baseball lights this summer, and it makes it pretty simple obviously,” Dunnan said.

Last spring, former high school baseball coach and administrator Brian Wisher paid for new lights at the high school ball diamond and football and track facility, at a cost of more than $163,000.

While the district decides their next move, Brinker said the parents will just continue fundraising and supporting the team.

The boosters plan to roll over the same T-shirt design and sales idea to the girls’ soccer team and get their families involved in raising money as well.

“I think we are making a big difference, and it really shows the pride we have in our kids and our community,” Brinker added.