Sequim’s own “Field of Dreams” is just months away from coming to life.
After a full year of fundraising and securing a six-figure dollar bequest from the Albert Haller Foundation, various in-kind donations from local businesses and thousands of volunteer hours, the nonprofit Sequim Family Advocates group aims to make good on its promise to bring sports and tourism dollars to the Olympic Peninsula this August.
In partnership with Sequim Junior Soccer and the City of Sequim, Sequim Family Advocates is proposing to host a soccer tournament Aug. 3-5 at the Albert Haller Playfields at the Sequim Water Reuse Demonstration Site, just north of Carrie Blake Park.
The tourney will be a Washington State Youth Soccer Association-sanctioned tourney open to boys and girls recreational and select teams in U11 (under age 11) to U16 (under age 16) brackets.
A committee of SFA board members, junior soccer association members, local soccer coaches and volunteers said they anticipate up to 900 players on 50 teams in 2012 — the first-year Island Cup on Bainbridge Island, they note, drew 76 teams in August 2011.
Craig Stevenson of Sequim Family Advocates presented the proposal to Sequim city councilors on Jan. 9. Stevenson and company received unanimous support after asking for assistance from the Sequim Lodging and Tax Advisory Committee to help run the tourney.
City councilors approved $14,950 for the inaugural soccer tourney to cover costs such as creation of a tourney website and logo, hiring a tourney director, marketing costs to attract soccer teams, hiring referees, hosting two referee training clinics in Sequim and sanctioned tourney fees.
The benefits of the tourney, Stevenson said, include having those 900 soccer players and family members stay two nights in local hotels, along with spending their dollars at Sequim-area businesses.
“It’s really a win-win-win situation,” city councilor Erik Erichsen said about soccer players, the city and businesses.
Sequim Family Advocates also is anticipating making this an annual tourney and asking for $7,000-$8,000 per year in assistance from the lodging and tax committee.
The 12-acre playfield site and Carrie Blake Park offer enough space for six full-size soccer fields, parking, restrooms, walking/biking paths and nearby playgrounds.
An added bonus, Sequim Family Advocates supporters note, is the proximity of the city’s band shell to the soccer fields.
“We are unaware of any other tournament in the state that offers a music venue right next to soccer fields,” they note in a proposal to the committee.