Olympians help push renovation of local soccer fields

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Former Olympians were on hand Monday to help get a movement to renovate some local soccer fields started. (KABC)

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, a big announcement for an effort to renovate some local soccer fields was made. A couple of former Olympians were on hand to help get the movement started Monday.

The open space in Griffith Park that is home to seven soccer fields could be better. Now, the youth sports organization LA84 Foundation has teamed up with the city in an effort to raise $10.5 million to renovate the John Ferraro Athletic Fields.

"Unless you have the sports fields, you don't have the opportunity to grow and build the young champions of the future," said L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

The announcement comes on the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympics, and several Olympic legends came out Monday to show their support.

"There are going to be literally hundreds more, maybe thousands more young people who are going to have the opportunity not only to play early, but to represent their country later in life," said Olympian Rafer Johnson.

The renovations will include new synthetic turf, updated lighting and improved parking. But not everyone who lives in the area is thrilled about the new project.

"It's only going to bring in more people, and on the weekends it's packed here. You can't get up or down the street," said Glendale resident Tim Poyorena Miguel.

Others, though, think it would be a wonderful improvement for the community.

"It's to have a park for everybody to come and join and play some sports, keep the kids off the streets, have a place to just enjoy themselves," said Glendale resident Noel Roldan.

Watering the biggest soccer complex in Los Angeles comes at a great cost to the city, especially during the drought. The city estimates the new synthetic fields will save 9.5 million gallons of water per year.

But more importantly, the fields will provide a safe and accessible place for young athletes.

"These fields will allow two to three times the use of these fields; it will give them a place that is safe, free of gopher holes, free of dirt and rocks when you fall," said Michael Shull, general manager of the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks.

Since March, $3.5 million has already been raised. And they need to raise the remaining money by this time next year to make the dream a reality.

Related Topics:
sportssoccerGriffith ParkGlendale
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